March News from Southport Quakers

Last Sunday afternoon (3 rd March), 6 Friends from Southport and Wigan attended a wonderful celebration at Trinity Methodist Church in Croston. We had been invited by Dilys Lightfoot who contacted Elizabeth Rowland Elliott several months ago.

In July 1939, Olga Bergmann Gabanyi boarded the last Kindertransport out of Prague and made a new life for herself with Norman and Merci Cardwell in Croston.  Her son, Richard Grilli from America, had been asked by Olga before she died last year to commemorate her time in Croston. She wished to give thanks to the late Norman and Merci Cardwell and their families as well as the people of Croston who had been so kind to her. The Society of Friends had paid £50 for each child (today £2300) to escape from Prague to safety in Britain. Richard and his sisters wished to thank Quakers and the local Jewish community for their part in the story and so we came together to pray and sing and hear recollections from local people who remembered Olga. It was a very emotional afternoon.

Barbara Winton spoke about her father Nicholas Winton who was instrumental in setting up the Winton Kindertransport which rescued children from Czechoslovakia.

A plaque was unveiled and then Richard presented us (and others) with a cheque for $1000 in appreciation of the work done by Quakers in the war years!

After a lovely hot meal, we all went our separate ways – but won’t easily forget Olga Gabanyi.

The final blessing was sung by us all-

May God’s blessing surround you each day,
As you trust him and walk in his way.
May his presence within guard and keep you from sin
Go in peace, go in joy, go in love.

Sheila Galligan (Southport)

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