THE power of social media has helped a former West Fife man to return – virtually – to his roots.

Charlie Pridgeon, 83, has lived in Holland for many years and ill health now means he is unable to come back to his native Rosyth.

Inverkeithing woman Sheila Hawkins, who is friends with Charlie's daughter, Naomi, was keen to give the pensioner a boost after hearing about his illness and posted on a Rosyth Facebook page asking for images and memories of his time in the area.

She has been astounded by the response.

"He married a Dutch woman and stays in Holland," she explained. "His dad and family were all from the Rosyth area so I thought, 'What can I do?' as I felt a bit helpless. I wondered if it would help when he was in hospital so I put a post up on Facebook thinking some folk may remember him.

"Since putting the post on, one of the people stayed a couple of doors away from Charlie when they were growing up. His cousin stayed with him as well so he knew both of them. He has sent me a lot of information about different things.

"Then someone said they had a lot of pictures from throughout the years they could send and he has sent me about 200 pictures of different things through the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Another woman contacted me who used to work with Charlie over in Holland. Her mum and dad were originally from Rosyth.

"He is blown away by it all. I have found it really heartening. I am not from this area and it was just like, 'Wow'. Every day something new was coming up and I had found someone new.

"One of the pictures is of the WRI and his auntie was in the picture. Another picture, his mum was in it. He was really close to his mum and cannot believe we had got a picture of her."

Charlie, who was born and brought up in Norval Place, said he was "blown away" by the response from Sheila's post.

"I would like to thank everyone who has responded," he said. "The wonderful people who have replied have rekindled so many memories (happy ones) which means so much to me as I lie/sit in hospital.

"I had a very happy childhood but, looking back, it was quite complicated by the Second World War. The first German air raid was on Rosyth. That continued for a while and my mother and I used to wriggle into the cupboard under the stairs for shelter. My dad was away in the Army. For a brief time, we were evacuated to Leslie.

"Starting school was complicated as the Navy had taken over Kings Road School and the Air Force, Park Road. We started in the RC school but were quickly moved around. Subsequent ‘schools’ were temporary brick and wooden structures around the Church of England, the Masonic Lodge in Admiralty Road, the British Legion building by the crossroads and, as the war came to an end, Park Road School.

"The Navy took longer to leave Kings Road but we eventually made it to what was our local school. After two years there, it was the Qualifying and off to DHS in 1948 till 1953.

"I keep in touch with the old town via internet – the Press – and suffer agonies with my beloved Pars."

Anyone who is able to provide more memories can contact Sheila at