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State News


 The Remarkable Story of C W Steel:  Japanese POW

Margaret Sargent kept us all rapt as she told the story of her father's experience as a Japanese POW during the Second World War.
Charles Steel had the misfortune to take part in two great military disasters of the Second World War - the retreat of the BEF culminating in the Dunkirk evacuation, and the Fall of Singapore.   Shortly before the latter he married Margaret's mother, Louise.   Within days of being captured by the Japanese, he began writing a weekly letter to his new bride as a means of keeping in touch with her, in his mind.
Margaret  inherited these diaries.   Part love letters, part diary, they describe the horrors of working as a slave on the infamous Burma-Siam railway and in particular the construction of the famous Bridge over the River Kwai.   She brought to life an uplifting story of a London Stockbroker who recorded both beauty and reality and shows how people can maintain their morale under even the most extreme adversity.
Thank you, Margaret for the vivid picture you had put in our minds of the horrors of war.
A full account of the talk will be in the January edition of GB News.
Gloria Redston   Gamma Chapter


Nine Alpha members and one brother braved the chilly weather to enjoy a guided tour of The Charterhouse, entrance pictured left. It is situated near the Barbican. Since the dissolution of this Carthusian monastery in the 16th Century, it has been a private residence, a boys' school and an almshouse, which it still is today. Our guide was enthusiastic and gave us many interesting facts. The residents are called brothers, although there is now no religious connection, they must be over 60 and in need of financial and social support. The latest resident is the first female and her real surname is brother!

Diana Bell, Alpha Chapter



Alpha Chapter had their meeting in the open on the 14th October. There had been a change of plan due to illness and our school tour had to be cancelled. We informed members - some of whom decided to come along anyway. After a delicious lunch we walked along to Dulwich Picture Gallery. The Gallery garden was an ideal spot for our meeting, the sun shone as we organised our programme for the next year. We then had an interesting visit to the Gallery. A good day out after all.

Diana Bell, Alpha chapter


Woodberry Wetlands

 Diana Bell Alpha Chapter

It was a perfect sunny day when Alpha members arrived at Manor Place Tube Station near Finsbury Park. Just down the road are the wetlands, opened in 2016 by Sir David Attenborough. This wetlands project was conceived by the London Wildlife Trust in partnership with Thames Water, entry is free. It spans 11 hectares of Stoke Newington’s East Reservoir and there is a reed-fringed lake and woodlands with the New River, built to bring water from Hertfordshire, running by.

There are many species of birds to observe and a café in the refurbished Coal House. We found it an ideal place for a pleasant walk.

Unity Harvey attends the  Norwegian State Conference 


I went to the historic Granavolden Guesthouse, which I recommend for its beautiful setting and superb food.  The Norwegian State President, Anne Marie Solstad, welcomed me to the Conference that was held there.  There were about fifty people present. It felt good to chat to friends I had met several times before and to meet new ones as the conference progressed.  The conference was well organized with “Generosity” as its theme.  The speakers, including the Dean Kirsten E.Almås who talked about generosity and how to belong to a community, were much appreciated; so were the musicians, particularly the singer and the violinist.  I enjoyed too, the report from Headquarters given by Hannah Fowler, Member at Large.  Participants were also able to visit the local museum, the church and walk around a nearby primary school. 
     When the conference was over, I stayed a few extra days with Anne Marie.  It snowed and I was able to build a snowman with her grand daughter, much bigger than the ones I can build at home.  The roads were clear so I was able to visit a brand new primary school - a treat, as it was very impressive!  I was also taken to see more of the countryside around an enormous long lake, another church, Babro in her house, a skilled weaver, a wood worker and a group of glass blowers.  My purse was much lighter when I returned but I shall enjoy looking at my purchases for a long time. 
I hope I shall remember this treasured journey for a very long while

 Great Britain Achievement Award

Evelyn Goodsell

 Evelyn with State President, Kathy Hodgson

 The Great Britain Achievement Award is our way of honouring a member for  something special. 
     Evelyn is a very active member who takes on responsibilities at every level, with willingness and initiative.   She has raised the profile of Great Britain in numerous ways. She is calm without fuss, going about DKG business willingly and whole heartedly, without ever expecting special praise or reward. She has presented workshops at International and Regional Conferences. She has worked on an International Committee, and been an International Speaker twice.  Evelyn has recently published an article in DKG`s eminent publication, `Collegial Exchange`, setting out Gamma Chapter`s work with the Pestalozzi International Village as a collaborative learning experience.’


 State Conference 2017 Highlights

A Great Gamma Meeting


Meeting with students from Beechwood school and Pestalozzi Village on Saturday proved to be informative, entertaining and thought provoking.  All the students were articulate and composed in the presence of their audience of mature educationalists.  When they began their autobiographical introductions it was clear that they were exceptional teenagers with wide experiences.
The morning was hardly long enough to learn about their early education and present lives far away from their homes.  I would love to have seen them interacting with each other and to have had time to sit and talk to them informally as there was so much more I was burning to ask.
One wonders what life is like for them back home, what are their aspirations for the future and what are their realistic expectations.

Bettina Kulsdom

Congratulations to

Evelyn Goodsell 

 Evelyn's article Pestalozzi International Village and a DKG Chapter: A Collaborative Learning Experience has been published in the 2016,Volume 83-2 issue of the Collegial Exchange. This article highlights the connection we, in Gamma Chapter, have with Pestalozzi International Village.

To read this article please follow the link.


Life on Sumba

 Ann McCue, MBE. 







Ann talking to Pat Johnson after the talk to Gamma members   



Report by Diane Billam 

Ann McCue, MBE. related how,  whilst  staying with an Indonesian friend, she had visited the island, and noted the poverty.   In 2002 they decided to set up a charity, which is still going strong, now mainly run by local people, although Ann continues to visit every year.  .  Ann showed us that Sumba is an outlying island, far from Jakarta, the capital. There are three towns on the island. People survive by subsistence farming.  The houses are built on stilts.  Animals live underneath, the family on the ground floor, and the spirits of the ancestors in the roof space.  The kitchen is in the middle.
Local markets sell fruit and vegetables, but the main product is betel nuts which they also export..  People chew a mixture of nuts + shoots from a vine + lime obtained from the ground.   This mixture when chewed turns bright red, and produces a drug similar to coca, which is very addictive.   Chewing also rots the teeth and can cause brain damage. 
Travel is by truck, van, or motorbike, often used as taxis.  All fuel is imported, and in short supply, with long queues for each tanker full. 
In villages in remoter areas children suffer from worms and malnutrition, and are usually filthy.  Grandparents often take care of children.  There is a shortage of water which  has to be collected in cans.  Villages try to build their own schools, and if they can run successfully for a year, government funding is available, and the charity helps them petition the government for these funds to build better schools.   Children often walk six km to the nearest school. There are state primary schools, junior high, and some private schools, with a few secondary schools, and there is some support for bright children.
The charity set up `Project Hope`, to help provide water tanks, household and school toilets, school classrooms, health education especially for mothers and babies, and help for disabled children.  So far they have provided 38 school classrooms in 10 different schools, 500 water tanks, 1000 household or school toilets.  There are some government schools, and one funded by other charities, with 3 classrooms.  All building has to be done manually.  Teachers are only part-time, badly paid, and have to farm in order to survive.  There is now some teacher training on the island.   Once established a school may be allocated per capita funding by the state for resources.  For the health programme, there is nutrition advice, and children`s progress is monitored.  The advice is often shared by villagers.  There has been some help for disabled children from a Philipino physio volunteer.   A visiting team from Singapore and Australia carry out cataract operations.  Some children are sent to Bali for operations to correct severe disfigurement, such as hare lip or cleft palate, with some training for follow-up therapy. Australia is providing some wheelchairs, 40 so far, with 169 to come in March.   These make an enormous difference to disabled children.














Dorothy Haley
Gamma Chapter
died on 30th May, 2016

Area Representative for Europe
GB State President
First recipient of the European Achievement Award


For Memories of Dorothy

please follow this link