A MAN who was rescued as a child from Nazi Germany has celebrated receiving an honour from the Queen for his lifetime's work in educating children about the Holocaust

John Fieldsend, who is 90 and lives in Cedar Crescent, Thame, came to the UK as a child as part of the Kindertransport programme that rescued thousands of Jewish children from German fascist persecution on mainland Europe in the 1930s.

Born to a Jewish family in Czechoslovakia, he moved to Dresden as a young boy before being brought to Britain. He later take Holy Orders and became a Church of England vicar, while dedicating his life to educating more than 40,000 children about the Holocaust and publishing a book about his experiences.

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Herald Series: John FieldsendJohn Fieldsend

He was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s 2020 New Year’s Honours List for his work with the National Holocaust Centre and Museum in Newark, Nottinghamshire. With the award ceremony delayed for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, he was finally able to celebrate this month at Buckingham Palace.

Mr Fieldsend, who was joined by his daughter Helen Tripp, said: "I certainly wasn't expecting to get the medal. I know I've done a lot in education but I thought other people had done more. I think, like all honours, they are given on behalf of communities; I received it but it's really for all survivors."

While he didn't meet any Royals, he enjoyed the experience. He said: "It was a really lovely occasion and there were some really lovely sandwiches."

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Mr Fieldsend used the two year delay wisely, learning how to walk independently after breaking his hip. He was helped by Home First Oxfordshire –  a joint venture between Oxfordshire County Council, and Oxford University Hospitals and Oxford Health NHS foundation trusts, which provides care support to adults at home.

He said: “One notices the stress. Of course, you’re aware services are stretched and sometimes there’s a little bit of a wait. But the care I receive from the ambulance team, the hospital staff, and the care team has been 100 per cent. Behind all the support, I have had a group of friends who are prayerful and faithful. I have found that whenever good things have happened, a group of people have been praying.”

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Sally Steele of Home First at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “From the very start, John was incredibly motivated and worked tirelessly in his recovery. With just a few little extra bits of equipment such as a walker and a grab rail by his front door, John’s been able to get back into the swing of things in no time: meeting friends and going on short walks locally. He’s still working hard and has even asked for more exercises to improve his strength and balance.”

County councillor Tim Bearder said: “I am so pleased to hear that John managed to collect his medal at Buckingham Palace as he had hoped.

“This is just another example of how Home First makes such a difference to individuals across the county. This way of working allows them to return to their communities and live the lives they want to lead.”


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This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.harland@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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