A Silver Cross of St. George for a champion of wartime evacuees
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
James Roffey and the memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum. Hundreds of former evacuees were present at its unveiling in July 2017.