Friends set up business recording precious life memories

Written by Peter Davison on .

Lissa Gibbins and Helen SheehanLissa Gibbins and Helen SheehanA new businesses established by a pair of writers and proofreaders sees the life story of clients turned into a printed and bound biography.

Great Bedwyn-based Lissa Gibbins and Helen Sheehan formed Aide Memoire to record the memories of older people for future generations.

Once written, memoirs can be illustrated with photographs, maps, and family trees.

The aim for each of the memoirs written by Aide Memoire is for the voice of the client to shine through their book.

Already they are picking up commissions locally, and further afield.

“Clients want to record their memoirs for all sorts of reasons but, for the most part, the key driver is a desire to pass something meaningful on to their children,” said Lissa.

“This desire goes both ways. We have often found that it is the children’s love of their parents’ stories that inspires them to seek the help of Aide Memoire.”

Through a series of weekly or fortnightly interviews Lissa and Helen record and then write up the stories.

These interviews – lasting a maximum of two hours at a time – generally take place in the client’s own home, and always somewhere that is relaxed and comfortable.

And to record the interviews, the authors have an ingenious tool at their disposal: a recording pen and notebook system that allows the interviewer also uses it to jot down key words, while recording a full transcript of the conversation.

They call it The Magic Pen.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the interviewee to talk about their past, their personal stories and the events that define them,” said Helen.

“Our clients universally enjoy this part of the memoir process, finding it both cathartic and invigorating.”