Refugee conference invitation to Shropshire students

By Sue Austin | Ellesmere | News | Published:

Students across north Shropshire and the surrounding area are being invited to show their support for refugees in war-torn countries by taking part in a special event to mark the centenary of the Save the Children charity.

Save the Children’s founder, Eglantyne Jebb

Free places are being offered to youngsters aged 16-plus at a day-long seminar at Ellesmere College Arts Centre on April 1.

Among speakers will be Dame Stephanie Shirley, a millionaire businesswoman and philanthropist, who was educated in Oswestry after arriving as part of the Kindertransport, escaping from Nazi-occupied Austria in 1939

The event will examine the plight of children displaced by conflict and the current refugee crisis in the Middle East and elsewhere.

It has been organised as part of an 18-month programme of activities to mark the centenary of the charity and commemorate its founders, Ellesmere-born sisters Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton.

Representatives of refugees now living in Britain will take part in the seminar together with Gareth Owen, Humanitarian Director of Save the Children UK. Mr Owen has led operational responses in every major emergency over the past decade, including the Iraq conflict and the Asian tsunami.


Another key speaker will be Nijam Uddin Mohammed, general secretary of the British Rohingya Community and Sirazul Islam, who work to support Rohingya refugees who have been forced to flee their homes in Myanmar and now live in camps in Bangladesh.

Historian Clare Mulley, who wrote Eglantyne Jebb’s biography, The Woman who Saved the Children, will look back on the work of the pioneering social reformer in setting up one of the world’s first international aid agencies, which now helps millions of children in nearly 120 countries.


The centenary project, part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, is led by volunteers from the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative in partnership with Save the Children, Shropshire and Ellesmere councils, local businesses and community groups.

Chairman Len Graham said: “We have invited local schools and colleges to send students to our seminar and we want to encourage as many young people as possible to get involved.

“This is a unique opportunity not only to learn about what Eglantyne and her sister achieved in establishing Save the Children at the end of the first World War, but also to look at the current situation in countries like Syria, and the increasing displacement of people caused by climate change and global warming.”

Students wishing to attend the seminar free of charges can contact Mr Graham by emailing

Tickets for the general public, which cost £20 and include a buffet lunch, can be bought from the Qube in Oswestry, Ismay’s and White Lion Antiques in Ellesmere, Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery or online at

Sue Austin

By Sue Austin
Chief Reporter

Chief reporter of the Oswestry/Mid Wales office. Keen to hear your news.


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