Kind residents and staff members from Cuffley Manor Care Home have created a video appeal for the NSPCC following the charity’s annual flagship event – Childhood Day.

The video was inspired by 91-year-old care home resident Jean McQueen, who spent 50 years of her life fundraising for the charity, including as part of Hadley Wood fundraising committee. She said: “I was involved in the NSPCC for over 50 years and I was the Chairwoman of Hadley Wood many years ago. I am pleased that at the age of 91 I can still do my part to fundraise for the incredible work that they do. The NSPCC has been the UK’s leading children’s charity looking out for children for over 130 years, I have seen first-hand how the work of the NSPCC has changed the lives of so many, this cause means so much to me.” 

Residents and staff of the care home had originally planned on a two-part fundraiser with a local school, where they would visit the school and tell the children stories about their childhood and the primary school would later visit the care home and sing for the residents. 

Lulu Razzaq, Business Development Manager for Cuffley Care Home, said: Jean really wanted to do something to help support Childhood Day and that’s when the brainstorming began, and the idea of the video came up. 

“All of our residents, but especially Jean, are very concerned for the welfare of children and that’s why as well as the video appeal we’re also hosting a free community event on Monday 27th June, where visitors are encouraged to donate to the NSPCC.”

The event will be held from 2-5pm and will feature a swing band, magician and BBQ at Cuffley Manor Care Home in Potters Bar. 

Karen Olden, NSPCC Community Fundraising Manager for Hertfordshire, said: “The video campaign is a touching but factual look at the reality of what children are currently facing and although it will pull at a few heartstrings the reality is that children need the NSPCC now more than ever. 

“Together, as a community, we can do more to ensure better outcomes for children across Hertfordshire.”

To watch the video campaign created by the Cuffley Manor residents and find out more about the NSPCC fundraising campaign, visit https://gofund.me/432bd5e1 and to find out more and register your place at the free open day event please visit https://bit.ly/cuffleymanor

2. CHRIST CHURCH, LITTLE HEATH – A Warm Welcome to the Ukrainian Community

3. QUEST FOR PILOT’S RELATIVES – Call from the Netherlands is Answered

The search by a Dutch museum for family of a Hertfordshire war hero has been a resounding success – thanks to the Potters Bar Community News.

In our previous edition we featured the quest to find family of Potters Bar war hero Flight Engineer Sgt. George Lewis who was killed in action along with his fellow six-man Lancaster bomber crew near the frontier village of Kloosterhaar on the night of 29/30 March 1943.

Director Freddie Ekkel of the Dorpsarchief Kloosterhaar museum was extremely pleased and surprised to have been contacted by not one but three members of the Lewis family only days after the Potters Bar Community News was published in our Spring Edition.

And now members of Lewis family are planning an autumn visit to the crash site where Sgt. George Lewis died to meet an eyewitness of that fateful night.

Two sons of George’s youngest brother, Stanley, and the daughter-in-law of George’s eldest brother, Charles, answered the reach-out call from the Netherlands. Freddie Ekkel plans to introduce eyewitness Edy Biewenga to the family in what will be an incredible emotional re-union of both families.
Both the Lewis and Biewenga families became close friends after the war after farmer Siewert Biewenga, Edy’s father, travelled to England to return Sgt.Lewis’s glove which was found on the Biewenga farm.

Sgt. Lewis was a member of the 460 Squadron which was assigned to the Royal Australian Air Force. On that fateful night in 1943, their Lancaster was on a bombing mission to Berlin in Germany. It was damaged by anti-aircraft fire. They took off from RAF Breighton, Yorkshire. The aircraft serial number was ED391, with fuselage code markings AR-E. Sgt. Lewis and the six other crew members are buried in the general cemetery at the town of Hardenberg. Before the damaged Lancaster crashed it was involved in a dogfight with a German night fighter. The night fighter was hit, and it perished close by.

Freddie said: “Four of the Lewis siblings were boxers. The youngest brother Stanley was the most successful! Biewenga’s correspondence also contained a photo of a group of boxers from Potters Bar. The sons were able to tell us that their father Stanley was in this photo and that Grandfather Lewis was on the far right. “They also had this photo in their album themselves! One of the brothers also said that his son is also very interested in the history of George Edward and had already researched his RAF past. They want to pay us a visit next September!”

1944 Potters Bar Boxing club. To the right of the photo : chairman father Lewis (1885-1968. Standing fifth from the right Stanley Lewis (1926-2006).

While continuing his research into the crash which killed Sgt.Lewis Freddie uncovered another unexpected surprise! Freddie continued: “Completely out of the blue, a letter surfaced from our old neighbor of mine, who died many years ago. She had sent this letter to her mother on 4 April 1943. In it she talked about the crash of the Lancaster and that it had passed not so far behind the house where I live! Our neighbor was a contractor and also active as a volunteer firefighter. In that capacity, he must also have been involved in the crash.

Extract from the letter dated 4th April 1943

The letter reads: ‘In the night of March 29-30 an English plane was shot down here, although the German fighter suffered the same fate. The Englishman passed just behind our house; there is debris everywhere spread over an area of about a mile. We could see it very well from our attic window. Now how it wants to burn. And crackle it did because there was still ammunition in it that exploded.

‘Six people have died. Jan (the neighbors’ husband) covered them with jute bags in the morning when he went to have a look. There were of course a lot of curious people and the dead just lay there near the aircraft but not mutilated or burned just a few wounds. The others from the German plane were completely mangled. But hardly anyone went there to look. Not all debris was also removed immediately, and some is still there, they (the German army) have now added sentry posts, so we now also have about 10 German soldiers in the area. They are billeted with farmer Kolk and cook their own food, well that’s we have heard at least.’

Freddie went on to reveal yet another surprising discovery: A few weeks ago I walked behind Biewenga family’s former house on a Sunday evening.
At one point I stood there musing about the crash and the young men who died in it. At the same time, I looked at the ground and saw a piece of weathered aluminum there! This was definitely from the Lancaster. A very special feeling came over me; it was like receiving a silent greeting from the crew!”

Freddie in the museum garden holding a piece of the Lancaster he found on farmer Biewenga’s land
Edy Biewenga, who remembers the Lewis family visits to Kloosterhaar in the 50’s is looking forward to re-meeting members of the Lewis family.  She is with Freddie Ekkel in front of the museums’ latest acquisition, a farmers wagon from the beginning of the 20th century.