Saturday 17th June dawned without a cloud in the sky and turned out to be the best day of the year so far. It was also the day of the Great Get Together to mark the murder of the MP Jo Cox on 16th June last year. As a contribution to those events, Quakers, Anglicans, Methodists and many other well-wishers and providers had joined with City of Sanctuary to organise an Away Day for refugees and asylum seekers from Wolverhampton.
This was a follow-up to the similar event held last October, except that this time a coachload of nearly 40 people came, nearly twice as many as before. There were children of all ages, with families from French-speaking Africa, the Middle East and China.
Children were enthralled as Justin Goodall put on a superb display of juggling, while 12-year-old Ivan – whose birthday it was – was engrossed by his first experience of playing the harp for which he clearly had a real talent.
Highlights of a tour of the town were the 1745 Town Hall, especially the magistrate’s bench, and the charity shops. After a sumptuous lunch in the Church Barn, the visitors returned to the coach and were conveyed to the Lewis’s farm at Pantglas on the Kerry Ridgeway. After some initial hesitation, Elliah enjoyed herself feeding Lulu from a bottle, while others played rounders and football and crowded onto the trampoline.
Others sought the welcome respite of the shade. The activities, laughter and deep conversations among helpers and visitors proved also to bear out what Jo Cox had said, namely that we have far more in common than that which divides us.
Some of the visitors were fasting and had to look the other way when tea and mountains of cakes were consumed at spectacular speed in late afternoon.
Then it was time for a group photograph and back to the bus. A perfect day!
Article by Jan Arriens
P.S. Our thanks once again to the multitude of hosts from the Bishops Castle area who provided abundant food and were so keen to talk with our guests and make them welcome.