AN 87-year-old grandmother took a trip down memory lane by visiting a revamped community centre which used to be her home during the Second World War.

From 1938 to 1947, Bette Parkin, of Myrtle Terrace, Dalton, lived in the town's drill hall in Nelson Street when her father, Regimental Sergeant Major James Willcox, was stationed at the building which was used as a territorial barracks.

Mrs Parkin, who was born in India and raised in Aldershot, came to Barrow in 1936 before moving into the drill hall two years later when she was nine years old.

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She said: "My father was in the King's Own Royal Regiment and my mother was the caretaker, so we had free run of the place.

"I think we were the last tenants to live in the house part of the building and I quite enjoyed my childhood there as we had the whole of the Drill Hall to play in.

"Having all that space was absolutely wonderful. When it was my birthday I used to have all my friends come over to celebrate and it was a marvellous place for games."

The former Dowdales pupil shared a bedroom with her younger sister Joyce Willcox, but that has now been transformed into a youth club.

After leaving the drill hall when the Second World War came to an end and her father returned from fighting, the family moved to a house in Romney Park before Mrs Parkin met Arthur, who she was married to for almost 60 years until he died last year.

Although her former home has been changed dramatically over the decades, Mrs Parkin is proud of her heritage and is glad to see that the building has now been turned into a community centre.

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She said: "It is totally different, but I think it's marvellous. There's such a hive of activity and I think it's wonderful that the building is being put to good use for the community.

"It doesn't make me feel sad; I'm just sort of disbelieving that that was my home. You look at it and think, 'I can't believe I used to live there'.

"I am proud that the building has become what it is today. It's an important building in the town and I would have hated to see it go to rack and ruin."