Welwyn Garden City woman at evacuees reunited event

TWO thousand former evacuees from across the UK met up at St Paul s Cathedral last week to mark 70 years since the first evacuation on the eve of World War Two. WGC woman Jessie Cleese and two of her sisters, Winifred Sayer and Margaret Taylor, were part

TWO thousand former evacuees from across the UK met up at St Paul's Cathedral last week to mark 70 years since the first evacuation on the eve of World War Two.

WGC woman Jessie Cleese and two of her sisters, Winifred Sayer and Margaret Taylor, were part of the commemoration service and remarked "it was fantastic".

Jessie who was evacuated from Shoreditch in London's East End to Wellingborough, Northants, has been living in WGC for 22 years.

She told the WHT: "It was an absolutely wonderful day - to see 2,000 people with their badges on."


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Jessie, who was one of 16 children, added about her experience as an evacuee: "Our older siblings were either already in the forces or were being called up.

"Us younger ones were sent to Wellingborough, but all at different homes.

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"We met at school daily though."

Jessie, who is now very close to her sisters, said: "We lived away from our parents for five years and, when we met them again, they were total strangers to us.

"All 16 of us returned from the war alive, which was very lucky."

You may recognise the sisters, as they were picked up in many of the nationals for their eye-catching banner.

They were at the event due to their involvement in the Evacuation Reunion Association, which aims to provide links, support and counselling for former evacuees.

For more information visit www.evacuees.org.uk

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