NORWEGIANS AT WENNINGTON – PHOTOS from 1948

 

A few months ago I received, by email, a batch of photographs from a Norwegian, Leif Thingsrud whose mother worked at Wennington for a year 1948 –1949. She was Thorbjorg  Throndsen, known as Toby at school.   Leif had found the photos among his father’s papers after his father’s death two years ago.   “The photos were in complete disorder, mixed with pictures from my mother’s walks in Wales and Norway with her British scout friends”. All he knew was that his mother had spent a year at a boarding school in Wetherby, and wondered if we could identify any places or people. He said ” I looked at these photos once with my mother, and she told me a little about her stay, but it is approx. 45 years ago, so I can’t remember every detail”.

Over a period we communicated by email and gleaned the following information.

Thorbjorg (Toby) and her friend Bergliot (Judy) were scouts who had a scout leader friend in Leeds: it is thought that this friend may have been instrumental in Toby and Judy being employed at Wennington as ”kitchen maids” in 1948. After working at Wennington, In the summer holiday, Toby went to London to stay with Alfred Schweitzer’s family as an au pair.  Alfred Schweitzer was a school governor until his death in a mountaineering accident in the 1950s.  His son, Julian, whom Toby must have cared for, was a pupil at Wennington in the late 1950s/early 60s.  Toby corresponded with Mrs. Schweitzer until Toby’s death 25 years ago.

 Bergliot (Judy) was sent to another family on the opposite side of London. Apparently Judy’s English was not very good and she tried to avoid speaking her “poor English” by relying too much on Toby -  or “walking behind her”.  “Mr. Barnes therefore ordered that they should stay as far from each other as possible to ensure that Bergliot also had to“ jump into it”.

 At some time – possibly during the Easter holiday of that year both Judy and Toby worked together as waitresses in Shanklin, Isle of Wight. Some of the photos are of their time there.

 “My mother did not tell me much about her stay in England, mainly because I was too young to ask when I stayed at home with my parents. But what she told me was positive, and I should say that she was quite “anglofil”. Bergliot died only three years ago, but I had no contact with her during the last ten years of her life, as she suffered from Alzheimers disease. It was just when I started to scan the old photos, I wanted to find out a bit more. I’m therefore thankful for any information you can bring up.”

 To view the photographs go to 'Archives', 'Image Gallery' and find the album '1948'.

 

Pat Mitchell -  with quotations from Leif Thingsrud’s emails.

 August 2016

 

 

 

2017

 

WENNINGTON ARCHIVE WEEK

at

 The Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive Centre, Church Lane Toddington. Near Cheltenham

will be held from

Thursday 18th - Tuesday 23rd May 2017

with the 'Commom Roots' conference being held at the weekend

midday Saturday 20th  to midday Sunday 21st a.m.

"The Future and Progressive Education"

for details and to book your place
CLICK HERE

 

 

 

REUNION and ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

will be held at Thorner Parish Centre

 

Saturday 16th - Sunday17th September 2017 

FOR FACEBOOK LOVERS

A Facebook group has been set up by Hank Meyerding (1974-75), Lyn MacGilvray Meyerding (1971-75), Patrick McLaughlin (1974) and Helen Richardson (1970-75), originally to make contact with their contemporaries from the 1970s, now extended to include all Wenningtonians.  Any Wenningtonian interested in joining this group go to   https://www.facebook.com/groups/1470391726584139

 What does an organisation do when faced with a dwindling membership due to old age, incapacity and inevitable death, and has difficulty in filling officer and committee positions because there is no new young blood to join the ranks?  Answer: suggest that the organisation be officially closed down.

 The Wennington Association was faced with this dilemma in 2012, 37 years after the school closed.  Unable to rustle up a new chairman, members were notified of the suggestion to disband and asked to comment.  An AGM was convened in 2013 to discuss the future of the Association which was attended by 22 people.

 The outcome was that the majority of Wenningtonians wanted the Association to continue.  With a little gentle bullying from the outgoing chairwoman, not only was a new chairman elected but also a new post of deputy chairman was filled as well as a full complement of committee members.

 So, for the next few years the organisation seems viable.  We shall continue to meet and socialise with life-long friends and do what we can to perpetuate the understanding of the unique type of education offered by Wennington..

 Will we survive into the 2020s?  Watch this space.

Written by Katy Pentith

Kaki tree planting day at PETT in conjunction with 27 children from the local primary school Willersey. The neighbours' four children and two guests from Pestalozzi Children's Village joined in too.

Jonathan from Wennington had the idea for this tree planting from an artist friend from the Forest of Dean who had been involved with the plantings for a while

Craig from PETT invited a local primary school and during the last few weeks the children have been researching the history of the tree and the reasoning behind it. The children have made pictures and created some very moving words in poetry form about the tree and its symbolism. They have created 2 prayers, 2 dances and sang a most wonderful song.

The Kaki Tree is a type of Persimmon tree with large orange fruit. These are known as Sharon fruit and are available around Christmas time. When in Nagasaki where the Atom bomb was dropped one of these trees survived. Seedlings were grown from the surviving tree. The plantings have been happening since 1998. The man behind the project in Japan is Dr. Masayuki Ebinuma. More information can be found on the Revive Time Kaki Tree Planting website.

In the morning before the children arrived, Craig explained that the hole, trowels, and soil were ready at the plot. He showed us the plaque that had been made,when rusty the wording will be clear. In the middle of the old pool is a peace sign. We decided to have the prayers there. A press photographer from the local paper attended.

When the children arrived it started a great buzz of positivity or “ energy unbound” The drizzle would not dampen more than our hair. We followed the children down to the planting site. The artist Bruce Allan introduced the idea to the children including other plantings of the Kaki tree at other schools country-wide. This was followed by Jonathan's account of bringing the sapling in his rucksack on the train from Yorkshire. He explained that he had been nurturing it on his allotment for 2 years. The children were gathered round and the banter was lively (another closely bonded family), while waiting for the photographers to marshal people for the pictures they wanted. One of the children read out the writing on the plaque.

KAKI TREE GRAFTED FROM A TREE WHICH SURVIVED THE ATOMIC BOMB

DETONATED ABOVE THE CITY OF NAGASAKI AT 11.02 A.M. ON THE 9 AUGUST

1945.

 

The surviving tree lives approximately 2.5 Kilometres from the hypo-centre of the explosion.

This offspring is a gift from Dr. Masayuki Ebinuma and the “Revive Time” Kaki Tree Project

Executive committee, Ibaraki, Japan.

 

Worldwide plantings of Kaki trees have been under-way since 1998, cultivated from two

surviving trees in Nagasaki, as symbols of peace and regeneration.

 

Stand back ! The planting has begun. Leading scout “ Richard the Clock” helped release the sapling Kaki from its travelling bag using his trusty penknife.Kaki sapling was then lowered into its new residence. Each and everyone of us put a trowel of earth into the hole while facing up to a barrage of cameras.

Carefully avoiding the cowslips we walked up the lawns to the pool where two pupils read the prayers. Beating the rain we all followed the children into the hall. The adults were able to watch at each end. The children removed their shoes and socks and took up their respective positions. One group stayed at the edges, the other group performed a dance depicting growth. This was stylish and individual. The music was open and lively. There was an exchange and the first group sat at the edge while the second group took up their positions. There was an engaging sense of purpose in part two. Again the rhythm was constant while many movements individually fitting in with stretching and growing. There was an impression of fluidity.

Onto the song. We were all given sheets for the song so we were able to join in. ** The adults with a voice that is! The accompaniment was piano and violin? The Song !!! WOW!! It was positive lively with quite a high range sung to a very high standard with clear diction and everyone staying together. The chorus too was very moving. I was impressed. The song is called “ Sometimes I Wonder. “

After an introduction from Jonathan another Wenningtonian , Mrs. Grace Roberts told her personal story of how her Uncle Norman had been captured during WW2 and was being kept in a cave in Nagasaki when the bomb was detonated. Grace went on to say that he was very thin and he was sent to Australia to put on weight before returning to the UK. We had only become aware of this before the planting.

Over lunch Ernie Thomas entertained everyone with songs from his barrel organ and each child had the opportunity to have a go before they left.

I thanked the children and staff for all their effort and hard work that had given a moving and memorable Kaki Tree Planting Day.

 

As there are no fruit for 10 years I suggested inviting everyone back for a party in 10 years time. Definitely a day to remember.

Thank-you to all involved.

 

 

 

 

 

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