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The official opening of Stanhope House

On Friday 6th March, Stowe was greatly honoured to welcome back one of its most remarkable former pupils – Sir Nicholas Winton MBE, when he officially opened Stanhope House, the School’s new boarding house for girls.

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Click here to read the speech Ruth Humphreys made during the Chapel Service.  Ruth was one of the childern Sir Nicholas saved in Prague as WWII broke out.

Sir Nicholas, who will celebrate his 100th birthday in May, was one of the School’s very first pupils when it opened in 1923. He is now most famed for Operation Kindertransport - the rescue that he single-handedly organised in 1939 of 669 mostly Jewish children from Nazi concentration camps in Czechoslovakia. Despite the scale of his achievement, however, his humanitarian work went unrecognised until 1988 when his late wife, Greta, found a scrapbook in the attic recording his heroic work. Since then, he has been honoured by Her Majesty the Queen and was nominated by the Czechoslovakian Government for the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Headmaster was particularly pleased too that Ruth Humphreys was also in attendance.  Poignantly, Ruth was in the last train to leave Prague before war broke out.  She arrived in London as a ten-year old refugee from Czechoslovakia and still remembers seeing Sir Nicholas at the station.  Tragically both her parents were gassed in Auschwitz – a stark reminder that, despite the current denials by some, the Holocaust was an indescribably brutal reality for millions of Jewish families.    By chance, Ruth attends Stowe parish church, and heard that Sir Nicholas would be coming to Stowe – until that point, she had no idea that he was a former pupil at the School.

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