Revised book provides new glimpse of post-war life

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Residents of Bognor Regis can see what the area was like in 1949.

Author Hazel K. Bell has released a revised edition of her collection of memoirs – Aged Thirteen in Felpham, 1949 – after its original release in 2003.

The book contains diary extracts from Bell’s time there and now includes entries from her days at ‘Chi High’, or Chichester High School for Girls, as well as new photographs.

Mrs Bell, of Hatfield, said: “The book was originally printed with no illustrations and was designed by myself, but now it has pictures and has been professionally printed.”

The book paints a unique picture of post-war Bognor. It presents experiences like sweet rationing from the viewpoint of a 13-year-old girl.

Mrs Bell, 77, likened her book to a non-fictional version of the bestselling Adrian Mole’s diaries. She added: “When I read back the diaries I found them very amusing and very genuine.

“They really show what post-war Bognor was like. It is a valuable social and historical document which really captures the essence of the time.

“We moved to Bognor in 1939 and it was absolutely ideal. There was so much theatre and you had the sea and the great schools.

“I was so sad when I had to leave in 1952. I still regularly visit the area, and recently installed a bench memorial for my mother on the seafront.” Aged Thirteen in Felpham, 1949 costs £6 and can be bought at www.aidanbell.com