'Absolutely phenomenal' response to new evacuees publication

Community Rail volunteer Trevor Garrod sells another copy at the Lowestoft Station Shop.

Community Rail volunteer Trevor Garrod sells another copy at the Lowestoft Station Shop. Picture: Lowestoft Central Project - Credit: Lowestoft Central Project

A new book providing a fascinating insight into the experiences of 40 wartime evacuees has proved a runaway success.

A Long Way From Home, written by former evacuee Clive Capps and author Sandra Delf, was  launched at Lowestoft Railway Station earlier this month.

It features accounts from 40 evacuees, now aged in their 80s and 90s, who left Lowestoft station 80 years ago - and the authors have been thrilled with the response from the public.

Part of the evacuee exhibition at the former Parcels Office at Lowestoft Railway Station

Part of the evacuee exhibition at the former Parcels Office at Lowestoft Railway Station. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

Since the book went on sale, the Community Rail shop at Lowestoft Station have been inundated with people eager to obtain a copy, with mail order requests coming locally and from as far away as Australia.

Mr Capps said: “The reaction to the book has been absolutely phenomenal and I have received some delightful messages from those that have already received a copy.

"We thought that it may have been of limited interest but we couldn’t have been more wrong and are now seriously considering a second print run.

Clive Capps being interviewed by Anglia TV as the new book is launched.

Clive Capps being interviewed by Anglia TV as the new book is launched. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

"We have made sure that the Lowestoft Station shop, the only outlet in the town, has additional supplies and Jarrold department store in Norwich and their branch in Cromer also have copies."

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Taking the authors over two years to research, these important memories have now been recorded for posterity. Mr Capps added: “We have been absolutely inundated with requests from across the UK and beyond, even as far as Australia.”

Lowestoft evacuee Olive Guymer being interviewed by Anglia TV

Lowestoft evacuee Olive Guymer being interviewed by Anglia TV. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

On June 2, 1940 around 3,000 children and their teachers from Lowestoft and the surrounding area were evacuated by train from Lowestoft Station to Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Small towns and villages subsequently became host to many of these children and the book features moving accounts of their experiences.

Eighty years on, many of the friendships made during such difficult times are cherished and, through the work of the Lowestoft Evacuees Association - founded by Lowestoft resident Chris Brooks more than 30 years ago - the memories and the connections made with Derbyshire communities remain strong.

Chris Brooks being interviewed by Anglia TV

Chris Brooks being interviewed by Anglia TV as the new book is launched. Picture: Bob Collis - Credit: Bob Collis

The friendships and links forged between Glossop and Lowestoft all those years ago are being maintained in part thanks to the support of Neil Williams, chairman of the Friends of Glossop Station, the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership and the Lowestoft Central Project.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that annual visits between the two towns weren't possible this year, exciting plans exist for 2021.


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