Memorial service held to honour Sir Nicholas Winton

Grace Witherden

Grace Witherden

Memorial service held to honour Sir Nicholas Winton

Credit: Nicholas Winton Foundation

A celebration of Sir Nicholas Winton’s life was held at a memorial service at the Guildhall in London on Thursday, May 19.

The service, which was organised by his children, Barbara and Nick Winton, was attended by 30 of the ‘Kindertransport’ children rescued by Sir Nicholas, who died last year aged 106.

He helped smuggle 669 mostly Jewish children from the former Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War. They were transported to Britain and rehomed.

Speakers at the service included Home Secretary and Maidenhead MP Theresa May, Lord Alfred Dubs and Dame Esther Rantzen, who presented the BBC show That’s Life in 1988 during which Sir Nicholas was reunited with many of the children he rescued. More than 400 people attended.

Nick Winton said: “My sister and I organised the service principally to give the opportunity for those to pay their respects as we had a private funeral last year.

“There were representatives from the Czech, Slovak and UK governments and the German and Swedish Embassies.

“Pa was very politically aware and we had speakers that gave background information on his work. He thought things should be done when they were needed and not because people were waiting for someone else to do it.

“We also had over 30 of the children that he rescued attend the ceremony and Dame Esther Rantzen spoke about the TV programme that was about Kindertransport and the ceremony finished with tea and refreshments.”

John Chisholm, a family friend, travelled from America for the service. He said: “It didn’t feel like a memorial service, it felt like a celebration.”

A memorial concert was held to celebrate the life of Sir Nicholas at St John’s Smith Square on Friday, May 20. The concert, organised by Fiona MacDonald, was in aid of two refugee charities.

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