Susan Jaleel

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I was born at Stockport on VE Day -- 8 May 1945 -- and grew up in nearby Hyde, a small town once described, affectionately, as an S-bend with chip shops! My home was a terraced house in the same street where my father had been born and my grandparents still lived. My dad was a carpenter who had set up his own business post-war, and my mother cleaned for the lady who lived in the posh house at the bottom of our street.

I attended a Church of England primary school, which I loved, and it was there that I learnt most of the great hymns of the church, practising them loudly each night when I went to bed -- to my mother's annoyance! I went to Sunday School, Brownies and Guides, swam with Hyde Seal Swimming Club, and I was probably at my happiest when I had my nose stuck in a book! At the age of 11, I became a grammar school girl, which certainly took me into a world which was alien to that which I'd known before, but it did have lots of books and a library of its own, which helped to soften the blow!

We came to Darlington in 1972, when Abdul got a consultant post at the Memorial Hospital, so I've lived here longer than anywhere else in my life. Home, however, is still the 'S' bend with chip shops! We have 2 children -- Yasmeen and Rasheed -- and 3 grandchildren, James, Lara and Rachel, each of whom brings great joy into my life.

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