Former wartime evacuees reunite at special event

Lowestoft Evacuees Summer Reunion 2022

Lowestoft Evacuees Summer Reunion 2022 - Credit: Wherry Lines CRP

Wartime memories were shared and friendships rekindled at a popular reunion of Lowestoft evacuees.

After more than 3,000 schoolchildren left Lowestoft on five trains on their way to rural Derbyshire in June 1940, to get away from the threat of bombing and invasion, an event for the evacuees to meet up again was successfully held at the weekend.

Old friends reunited at the Lowestoft Evacuees Summer reunion.

Old friends reunited at the Lowestoft Evacuees Summer reunion. - Credit: Wherry Lines CRP

On Saturday, June 4, at the Parcels Office public exhibition space at Lowestoft Railway Station, former wartime evacuees enjoyed a special Queen's Platinum Jubilee themed event as part of their annual summer reunion.

Running from noon to 3pm, some 40 former evacuees attended the event which was hosted by the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership and Lowestoft Central Project with an afternoon tea given away in celebration of the Royal Jubilee and celebrations marking 175 years since the railway reached the town.

Neill Williams

Neil Williams Chair of Friends of Glossop Station (standing) catches up with former Evacuees at the summer 2022 reunion. - Credit: Wherry Lines CRP

Special guest at the event was Neil Williams, chairman of the Friends of Glossop Station, representing the Derbyshire town which hosted some 500 Lowestoft children who were evacuated during the war.

As is tradition on reunion events, a roll call was held to establish who was attending from their former schools and this helped to reunite two former pupils who were billeted in Shirebrook and had not met since the end of the war.

The Lowestoft Evacuees Summer reunion 2022.

The Lowestoft Evacuees Summer reunion 2022. - Credit: Wherry Lines 2022

With the majority of evacuees finding refuge in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire for the duration of the war, many of the friendships established and bonds made with their host communities during such difficult times are still celebrated and cherished some 80 years on.

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Community Rail Development Officer Martin Halliday said: “We were delighted to host the Lowestoft Evacuees summer reunion and to provide a surprise afternoon tea as part of  celebrations marking the 175 anniversary of the railway reaching Lowestoft and the Royal Jubilee.

Lowestoft Evacuees summer reunion Summer 2022.

Lowestoft Evacuees summer reunion Summer 2022. - Credit: Wherry Lines CRP

"It was wonderful to see friends reunited and hear some fascinating stories from their time spent away.”

Last summer two large arched panels depicting the events of evacuation day were unveiled at Lowestoft station and information panels are also displayed at Glossop railway station.