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Wartime memories shared as evacuees reunite at popular event

PUBLISHED: 11:50 04 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:50 04 June 2019

Some of the Glossop evacuees present with  Chris Brooks (centre) at the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee annual summer gathering. Picture:  Lowestoft Evacuees Committee

Some of the Glossop evacuees present with Chris Brooks (centre) at the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee annual summer gathering. Picture: Lowestoft Evacuees Committee

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Almost 80 years ago, more than 3,000 schoolchildren lined up at Lowestoft railway station as they were evacuated to towns in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

A general scene in the Stella Maris Hall, Lowestoft, as the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee annual summer gathering is held. Picture: Lowestoft Evacuees CommitteeA general scene in the Stella Maris Hall, Lowestoft, as the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee annual summer gathering is held. Picture: Lowestoft Evacuees Committee

Decades later, wartime memories and friendships were rekindled once more as the Lowestoft Evacuees' Association met for its annual summer reunion.

More than 40 former evacuees attended the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee annual summer gathering at the Stella Maris Hall in Gordon Road, Lowestoft on Saturday, June 1.

Some of the Glossop evacuees present with Neil Williams (centre) at the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee annual summer gathering. Picture: Lowestoft Evacuees CommitteeSome of the Glossop evacuees present with Neil Williams (centre) at the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee annual summer gathering. Picture: Lowestoft Evacuees Committee

In June 1940 the schoolchildren left Lowestoft on five trains on their way to rural Derbyshire - and 79 years on they still have two major reunions each year in Lowestoft.

The first of what has become a twice annual tradition saw stories shared at the popular reunion event.

Brian Howard, who unveiled the plaque in 2017 at Glossop Station, at the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee annual summer gathering. In his hand he is holding a poignant photo of himself as an evacuee at Glossop. Picture: Lowestoft Evacuees CommitteeBrian Howard, who unveiled the plaque in 2017 at Glossop Station, at the Lowestoft Evacuees Committee annual summer gathering. In his hand he is holding a poignant photo of himself as an evacuee at Glossop. Picture: Lowestoft Evacuees Committee

Secretary Chris Brooks and chairman Brian Baxter gave a warm welcome to all in attendance.

With period music played, everyone enjoyed a catch up as they viewed photograph albums and books about the evacuation - many written by Mr Brooks.

Mr Brooks mentioned absent friends - including Peter and Sheila Glover, who now live in Southport and were unable to be present but they wished to be remembered as a generous donation of £100 was given to the association.

Neil Williams, from Friends of Glossop Station (FOGS), thanked the evacuees for being part of this special reunion.

He said that in the year since he was last in Lowestoft, the Friends group had won the gold award in the 2018 Community Rail Awards and their work with Lowestoft was commended in the citation for the award.

Mr Williams said that the group was "extremely proud" of its role in helping to link the two towns and he thanked the evacuees for their friendship and support.

Mr Brooks and the group's new vice chairman Clive Capps then discusses special plans to mark the significant 80th anniversary of the east coast evacuation next year.

These include a special book by Sandra Delf, who gave a progress report as the book nears completion.

A special event with schoolchildren is also planned to be held at Lowestoft station on June 2 2020 along with an exhibition in the newly refurbished parcels office exhibition room.

Many of the Evacuees present signed up for their annual three day visit to Glossop, which will take place at the end of August.

One former evacuee John Clarke was attending his first ever reunion event. Mr Clarke was evacuated to Glossop and lived for over five years with a family in Hollincross Lane, Glossop. His memories of this time are vivid and Mr Williams was asked a number of detailed questions about buildings and people.

The 29th annual summer event concluded with a raffle and buffet and a reminder that the winter reunion will take place on December 7.



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