Kent WWII evacuees thank Welsh host families

Flowers and Welsh flag at St Mary The Virgin Church in Dover The congregation sang the Welsh hymn Cwm Rhondda

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A special service has been held in Kent to thank the people of south Wales who took in hundreds of child evacuees from the South East of England during World War II.

More than 100 former evacuees attended the thanksgiving event at St Mary The Virgin Church in Cannon Street, Dover.

The congregation sang the Welsh hymn Cwm Rhondda and waved Welsh flags during the service on Sunday.

Hundreds of children were evacuated from Kent in the summer of 1940.

'Sense of hope'

John Lockyer, 82, who was sent from his hometown of Dover to Blaenavon in south Wales, co-ordinated the thanksgiving service.

Evacuees to Blaenavon in 1940. Pic: Joan Stevens Hundreds of children were evacuated to south Wales in the summer of 1940

In May he told BBC South East Wales: "Comforting voices and outstretched hands gave us a sense of hope and security which those of us who survive will never forget."

He added: "The love I was shown during that time has given me a deep affinity with Wales."

During World War II, Wales received a quarter of a million refugees - 100,000 in the July 1940 evacuation alone.

Terry Sutton, 81, from Dover, who also helped organise the event, said he stayed with an elderly Welsh couple who treated him like their own son.

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