A Sil­ver Cross of St. Ge­orge for a cham­pion of wartime evac­uees

This England - - Post Box - CHARLES MERED­ITH

Wewere de­lighted to re­ceive a let­ter from Kath­leen Hasler from Big­gin Hill in Kent, nom­i­nat­ing a man whose ster­ling work in re­cent years has brought into be­ing a won­der­ful or­gan­i­sa­tion called the Bri­tish Evac­uees As­so­ci­a­tion. Much has been writ­ten about our wartime evac­uees but it was not un­til James Rof­fey got busy that any tan­gi­ble of­fi­cial recog­ni­tion oc­curred.

The Bri­tish Evac­uees As­so­ci­a­tion (for­merly the Evac­uees Re­union As­so­ci­a­tion), is a non-profit mak­ing reg­is­tered char­ity funded by mem­bers’ sub­scrip­tions and do­na­tions. Formed in 1996 it en­sures that the true story of the great evac­u­a­tion has be­come bet­ter known and pre­served for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

A 16-page bi-monthly mag­a­zine called The Evac­uee is sent to all mem­bers world­wide, who re­side not just in the UK but in the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Aus­tralia and parts of Europe. Fea­tur­ing mem­bers’ sto­ries and rec­ol­lec­tions of their time as chil­dren, it also has a “lost touch” sec­tion which has helped many peo­ple con­tact for­mer fam­i­lies and friends. Reg­u­lar re­unions are also or­gan­ised through­out the coun­try, both large and small. In Septem­ber 2009 a Com­mem­o­ra­tive Ser­vice was held at St. Paul’s Cathe­dral which was at­tended by 1,800 mem­bers and at­tracted world­wide cov­er­age. Mem­bers also at­tend 1940s themed events and are proud to par­tic­i­pate in the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion’s Ceno­taph Pa­rade in Novem­ber each year. Ed­u­ca­tional in­for­ma­tion is made freely avail­able to both schools and his­tory groups, with reg­u­lar con­tri­bu­tions on ra­dio and tele­vi­sion pro­grammes.

In July 2017 came pos­si­bly the great­est recog­ni­tion of all when, in the pres­ence of HRH the Duke of Glouces­ter, a mag­nif­i­cent new mon­u­ment was ded­i­cated and un­veiled at the Na­tional Memo­rial Ar­bore­tum at Al­re­was in Stafford­shire. De­signed by Mau­rice Blik it is en­ti­tled “Ev­ery Which Way” and makes a stun­ning ad­di­tion to the col­lec­tion.

Many con­grat­u­la­tions to James Rof­fey, the founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive for all his hard work on be­half of the mil­lions who were evac­u­ated to places un­known — a wor­thy re­cip­i­ent of our Sil­ver Cross of St. Ge­orge.

The As­so­ci­a­tion cur­rently has more than 1,300 mem­bers world­wide and num­bers are con­stantly in­creas­ing so, if you were a wartime evac­uee or would like fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, then please con­tact:

The BEA, Mill Busi­ness Cen­tre, Gring­leyon-the-hill, Not­ting­hamshire, DN10 4RA. Al­ter­na­tively, visit www.evac­uees.org.uk or email era@evac­uees.org.uk .

James Rof­fey and the memo­rial at the Na­tional Memo­rial Ar­bore­tum. Hun­dreds of for­mer evac­uees were present at its un­veil­ing in July 2017.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.