SEVENTY years ago, Gordon McLeod's heavily-pregnant mother packed her bags and fled war-torn Tyneside.
As bomb raids threatened her home in Byker, Newcastle, Jean McLeod gave birth in the idyllic peace of the Cumbrian countryside.
She was one of 5,000 city mothers evacuated to the safe haven of the Co-Operative Convalescent Home.
And now, to celebrate reaching his 70th birthday, Gordon has returned to very the room where he was welcomed into the world.
Gordon spent a night at room 101 in “The Home” – now known as Gilsland Spa Hotel – just past Northumberland’s border with Cumbria.
“I always call myself a Geordie, even though I was born in Cumbria,” said Gordon, who grew up in Byker, Heaton and Longbenton.
“My mother was evacuated to the Co-Operative Convalescent Home at the end of her pregnancy, along with a lot of other women from Newcastle.
“I was born there on April 27, 1942.
“After I arrived, we returned to Newcastle and we lived with my grandmother.”
Gilsland Spa, which sits half way between Hexham and Carlisle, was originally built as The Shaw’s Hotel in the 1860s, after an earlier hotel burned down.
It was taken over by the Co-Operative Society in 1902 and used for convalescence until the First World War, when the Military Authorities began sending soldiers there to recuperate before going back to the front line.
During the Second World War Gilsland was used as maternity hospital, known locally as “The Home”. Almost 5,000 babies were born there before it became a hotel again in 1972.
At the time when Gordon arrived in 1942, his father Robert, a member of the Highlanders regiment, was away fighting in Europe.