The evening of 22 November 1963 was momentous in many ways – it was that evening I told our Guide Captain that I would be leaving at Christmas.  Guides was on a Friday night and clashed with Ready Steady Go.  With no iPlayer, no VHS or even repeats, you were either there as the programme was broadcast or you were nowhere.  It had been a tussle to get my mum to agree to my leaving guides and even harder to tell Captain, although she was probably relieved – I was never really into working for all the badges you needed to achieve the honour of the ‘Little House’ emblem – cook, child-care, hostess, emergency helper.

And then, as we left the village hall where our meetings were held, clattering down the stairs, someone outside called up, ‘President Kennedy’s been shot.’

Later that night, in my diary, after describing my day – the revelation to Captain, people I had and hadn’t seen on the way to school, and my new role in a school play, I wrote: President Kennedy has just died.  And in smaller writing: He was assassinated.

That Sunday I noted that Gerry and the Pacemakers (You’ll never walk alone) and the Beatles (She loves you) were at the top of the charts.  But at number six was something I described as a Great record!!  The Ronettes singing Be My Baby.

The Red Army Choir

We didn’t get a record player in our house until the late 60s.  For a long time we didn’t have many records.  The first single we had was one my Auntie Sheila bought – Let’s Think About Lovin’ by Bob Luman.  It would not have been my first choice.  My dad bought an album of the Red Army Choir and would sit in the front room, listening to the powerful, swooping harmonies, reading Bernard Shaw.