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Care home resident, 101, to share wartime stories with Dutch schoolchildren

Care home101

A 101-year-old resident at Thorp House nursing home, in Griston, near Watton, will be sharing his wartime stories with children in Holland after a teacher contacted him.

John Lister arrived in Normandy hours after the first D-Day landings and saw comrades in the 72nd Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery killed in battle.

He was among the liberating forces which advanced through France, Belgium and Holland and still cries when he remembers starving young children eating grass.

Lorraine Mead, who teaches at an international school in The Hague, has a deep interest in the Second World War sparked by her grandparents’ experiences and reached out through the Postcards of Kindness Facebook page to find veterans in the UK.

After Thorp House’s wellbeing coordinator Marcia Hughes contacted her, she wrote to Mr Lister and sent him a box of Dutch gifts.

She followed it up this week with a Zoom call and is arranging another one for her pupils to speak to him.

Mrs Mead said: “I have lived in the Netherlands since 2000 and knew little about the war here to start with.

“It was really tough for Dutch people who were occupied and also sad to think that the Netherlands deported more of their Jewish population than any other country.

“I really am so grateful for the efforts of people like John who fought for the freedom we have today. I would never have got to have a life rich with travel and working abroad if they had not given so much during the Second World War.

“I would love to share John’s story with the children here.”

Mrs Hughes said: “Lorraine told us how commemorative stumble stones or ‘strekelstenen’ are laid to mark the place Jewish families had lived.

“At Thorp House, we are now working with children from two local schools, Caston and Thompson primaries, to make our own stumble stones.

“We will lay them in the garden here on Holocaust Memorial Day, January 27, and Lorraine will do a virtual ribbon cutting at the ceremony.”

IMG 20200625 101350

Captions: John and Marcia on the Zoom call to Lorraine.

Items in the box of Dutch gifts.

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