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4th Dec, 2021

Today’s refugees are in planes, not trains - Sophie's story

Rob George 6th Sep, 2021

ESCAPE from war-torn Europe in a cattle truck led a seven-year-old girl with an uncertain future to a life of love and success in Worcestershire.

Sophie Dodds, from Harvington, was that little girl who made her life in Britain and went on to become a pioneering member of Evesham u3a.

Events in recent weeks in Afghanistan which have created a flood of refugees seeking to flee the Taliban have struck a chord with Sophie.

“What in the world has changed?” she said. “Today refugees are in planes, not trains.”

Sophie was born in Silesia, a region covering parts of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. She was seven when the Second World War ended and she was evacuated as a refugee with her parents and sister to western Germany.

Sophie’s father had been a successful businessman, and she came to Britain to learn English. Here she met her husband, fell in love, married and had a daughter. Now she has two grandchildren and a great grandson.

She was encouraged by u3a nationally to create a German Conversation Group for Evesham and District u3a when it was set up in November 2001. She became member number six.

“My credo is where would we have met if it had not been for the u3a”, said Sophie.

“To keep Alzheimers at bay, scientists have discovered either to learn to play the piano or learn a language.

“We have taken it literally and unconsciously have decided on the German language – now in its 20th year”.

Sophie added: “Fun, friends and social interaction makes you feel good. It is life enhancing. Retired people come from all walks of life, and have so much to give. That was the original idea why the u3a was born – sharing mutual interests and learning from each other without pressure.”

Sophie is a member of St. James’ Church in Harvington and serves as a churchwarden and member of the Parochial Church Council.

She is also involved with Evesham’s twinning with Melsungen, Germany, and helped with German at Prince Henry’s High School.

Evesham u3a has about 1,000 members. Visit https://u3asites.org.uk/evesham/welcome for more.

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