Re­union 50 years af­ter Turkey trip

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR VIEWS - KAREN BRITTON

AGROUP of young peo­ple who em­barked on a treach­er­ous trip to Turkey 50 years ago could be re­united.

In July 1967 the youth group from Christ Church in Mac­cles­field drove across Europe in buses to Greece and Turkey to see bib­li­cal sites. The Ex­press fea­tured an ar­ti­cle show­ing the mayor wav­ing them off on their three week tour.

It caused con­cern for fam­i­lies back home be­cause there was a ma­jor earth­quake in Turkey dur­ing their visit. It even prompted a ques­tion in Par­lia­ment about their safety.

Now the rev­erend who led the group, Rt Rev John Hay­den, 76, as­sis­tant bishop at the Dio­cese of Ch­ester, is ap­peal­ing for mem­bers of the group to get in touch for a re­union to mark the an­niver­sary.

He said: “It was a ma­jor un­der­tak­ing in those days but a very mem­o­rable visit. I am still in touch with the two as­sis­tant lead­ers, Mal­colm and Pat but not with any of the oth­ers. Fifty years is a long time but it would be good if we could meet up for a re­union maybe at Christ Church.”

Rev Hay­den has spo­ken about his mem­o­ries of the trip, say­ing it was re­mark­able no one came to any harm or be­came ill.

He said: “The 7.1 mag­ni­tude earth­quake took place in the area we were sup­posed to have reached. We were late pass­ing through the Izmit area just east of Is­tan­bul be­cause we were de­layed by break­downs in the coaches.

“In any case, as we camped at night in the open coun­try­side even this se­vere earth­quake would not have caused us much harm. How­ever, nat- urally rel­a­tives back home had cause for con­cern and we saw the ex­ten­sive dev­as­ta­tion as we drove through the area.

“Fifty years ago cross­ing the Aus­trian bor­der into Yu­goslavia and on into Turkey was driv­ing into an­other world. Very few roads were Tar­mac and were in such a poor state that the coaches grad­u­ally col­lapsed, so both had to be scrapped.

“When the roads caused a brake pipe to leak we drove around 20 miles through the desert on gears and hand­brake to reach a garage. The con­stant vi­bra­tion caused a hose to work loose which caused a fire.

“Wa­ter was ob­tained from lo­cal wells that had a strong smell but we fil­tered it and put in ster­iliz- ing tablets. There were few vehicles on the roads as most trans­port was by horse or don­key cart or camel.

“It would be good to meet up again af­ter all these years to dis­cover how such an ex­pe­ri­ence changed peo­ple’s life at­ti­tudes.”

Email johnd­hay­den@ about the re­union.

The in­trepid Christ Church youth group, pic­tured in the Mac­cles­field Ex­press ready to leave on their ad­ven­ture. Inset: Rt Rev John Hay­den

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