Chatteris care home hold Australian day for resident who ventured down under

PUBLISHED: 16:23 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:31 04 September 2019

It was a special day at The Gables for one of their residents, Eileen Jenkins, as the home celebrated the Australian Wattle Day. Picture: LORNA JONES

It was a special day at The Gables for one of their residents, Eileen Jenkins, as the home celebrated the Australian Wattle Day. Picture: LORNA JONES

Archant

It was a special celebration for one resident at a Chatteris care home who had an Australian day held in her honour.

It was a special day at The Gables Care Home as they celebrated the Australian Wattle Day. Picture: LORNA JONESIt was a special day at The Gables Care Home as they celebrated the Australian Wattle Day. Picture: LORNA JONES

Eileen Jenkins, from The Gables, was evacuated to live with relatives in Australia aged just eight-years-old in 1940.

She was one of 477 children on board the Polish liner 'Batory' accompanied by 51 escorts assigned to care for them, along with 700 troops and the Polish crew.

Last month the 79-year-old made a wish that the home would be able to hold an Australian Wattle Day.

On August 30 a themed lunch took place at The Gables and the dining room was decorated with flags, balloons and homemade Wattle, the national floral emblem of Australia.

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Eileen said: "It was a wonderful day, bringing back many happy memories of my time in Australia".

The Gables also presented her with a passenger list showing her as a 14-year-old student returning to the UK.

While Eileen was on the Batory, one of the escorts was Meta Maclean, an Australian songwriter and pianist.

During the 10-week voyage, she would lead the children in sing-a-longs, choirs and Sunday hymns.

The ship became known as The Singing Ship and Maclean would later write a book with that title about the journey.

Eileen returned to England in 1946 on board the Aquitania which docked in Southampton on January 10 that year.

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