Burntisland woman in her 80s publishes first book to describe growing up in the town

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A Burntisland woman has published her first book which describes life in the town eight decades ago.

Ray Kelly grew up in the town in the 1940s and 1950s and has detailed her upbringing in her first book, Up the Castle and Beyond: We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns. Containing stories, songs and poems, the book takes a nostalgic look at Burntisland in a very different age.

Now in her eighties, Ray said the book came about after her granddaughter asked for stories about her childhood.

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She explained: “It was my granddaughter's said to me ‘Gran, tell me some stories about when you were young.’ I suddenly thought I never asked my parents anything, and there are a lot of questions unanswered so I just started writing – it just went from there.”

Ray [inset] now, and in her younger years alongside her father, Jock, and twins Sandra and Sheila (Pic: Submitted)Ray [inset] now, and in her younger years alongside her father, Jock, and twins Sandra and Sheila (Pic: Submitted)
Ray [inset] now, and in her younger years alongside her father, Jock, and twins Sandra and Sheila (Pic: Submitted)

Ray spent her time in Kirkcaldy Library writing the book; a process that took six months to complete before self-publishing. On having it published, she said that she “never would have dreamed it would have happened.”

And the memories of her younger years were fresh as she recorded her stories. She explained: “It came just like a film. I can’t remember what I did yesterday but all that just clicked!”

Alongside her Castle Gang, Ray was a frequent explorer of the Rossend Castle and Starleyburn Woods but according to Ray, times are very much changed a lot since she grew up in Burntisland.

She said: “I feel so sorry for children now because they don’t have the freedom that we had. It's just so very, very different, we were so lucky.”

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