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Former evacuees attend annual summer reunion

Former Lowestoft Wartime Evacuees attended their annual summer reunion at Lowestoft Railway Station on Saturday 1st June.

The event enabled former evacuees and family members a chance to catch up and reminisce over 80 years since over 3000 school children and their teachers were evacuated from Lowestoft to Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, away from the imminent threat of invasion and bombing.

Over 600 of those evacuated found safety in and around the High Peak town of Glossop, with the links formed between the two communities all those years ago still celebrated today.

Special guest at the reunion was Neil Williams, Chair of the Friends of Glossop Station, who updated with news about his home-town, which itself was holding a special large scale heritage event across the weekend. Neil said, “This weekend Glossop is hosting a special heritage weekend and the story of the 600 children and their teachers from Lowestoft who found sanctuary within the town is being retold in a special exhibition. “I’m so pleased that both our communities continue to cherish these important memories and that the friendships made are not only still celebrated but are now being retold for future generations.”

Neil has been working to preserve the memories and friendships made between Glossop and Lowestoft over 80 years ago, hosting tours of the town for former evacuees and their families and like Lowestoft station, Glossop station also has permanent history panels retelling the events of the evacuation.

Also attending the event was Lowestoft resident and former evacuee, Alma Mingay. Along with her siblings Alma was billeted in Glossop throughout the war and often returns to the area.

Each year the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership and Lowestoft Central Project hosts the reunion event at Lowestoft station, the very location those evacuated departed from aboard a number of special trains in June 1940. 

Jacqui Dale from the Lowestoft Central Project added; “It is always a great privilege to host the reunion and to enable former evacuees to meet up and reminisce about their time away. We were thrilled that Neil was able to attend and give an update on what is happening in Glossop, especially as so many were given refuge there during the war.”

Founder of the former Lowestoft Evacuees Association, Chris Brooks who was given the Freedom of the Town for his efforts in support of former Lowestoft Evacuees and Sandra Delph, co-author of the book ‘A Long Way From Home’ which retells many individual Lowestoft evacuees experiences, were also present at the reunion.

In 2021 The Wherry Lines and Lowestoft Central Project installed two giant interpretation panels on the station concourse as a permanent reminder of the Lowestoft Schools Evacuation.

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