THOUGHTS of the famous old St Helens Co-op Buildings bring back bitter-sweet memories for Letty Macdonald.

The Co-op (latterly known as Helena House) was demolished in recent years under a philistine re-development plan. But for decades it was a major town-centre attraction for dances, concerts and wedding receptions.

Letty, from Chadwick Road, Haresfinch, was prompted to write in after reading the account of another veteran lady reader, Miss Edith Carter of Sutton who recalled the celebrity concerts held in the newly-demolished Rivoli Cinema during the 1939-45 war.

Letty can go back even further than that. "We were courting, Rory and I, and one of the highlights of the winter evenings were shows in what was the concert hall of the old Co-op Building". Among the star artistes they listened to were Isobelle Bailey, Elena Daniella, Webster Booth, Mary Jarrod and Heddle Nash.

Rory and Letty were transported by the delights of those shows. "We did not need to catch a bus home to where I lived", she says, "but would float up North Road, still enthralled by all the wonderful music we had heard".

Which isn't at all surprising considering the couple's musical background. Rory, who died two years ago at the age of 86, was a piper for 41 years with the Caledonian Society, and Letty (85) who left her native Scotland at the age of 19, was a member for four years of the Glasgow Orpheus.

With a closing sentiment, doubtless applauded by countless other customers of this column, she declares: "One of the biggest mistakes St Helens ever made was to demolish that lovely building".

But thoughts of that splendid building also revives a tragic echo. Letty was passing the Co-op one wartime Saturday where an RAF pilot's wedding reception was being held.

"We knew the pilot -- Tony Brogan. Unfortunately he never returned to St Helens. He was killed the following week, as was Eric Minchall".

MANY thanks, Letty, for that bittersweet contribution.