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The eight-year-old who travelled across Europe alone to escape the Nazis: MP Vernon Coaker honours Eve who started new life in Netherfield 80 years ago

Eve left her family behind to flee the Nazis and was offered a new home in the town

A woman who made a daring escape from the Nazis eighty years ago has been honoured today by people in the town that welcomed her as a refugee.

Eve Leadbeater was one of the many Jewish children who made it onto kindertransport trains destined for London so they wouldn’t perish at the hands of the Nazis.

She landed at Liverpool Lime Street station on July 1, 1939, all alone after making her solo escape across Europe.

Eve was greeted that day by teacher Minnie Simmonds, who would create a new home for her in the town of Netherfield.

Her brother, Tomy, was due to make the same trip days later, but his train was cancelled. He and the rest of the family were instead sent to Auschwitz and would never be seen again.

Eve was one of the lucky ones.

Now, on the eightieth anniversary of her arrival in Netherfield, people from the town came out in force to recognise her bravery and also the work she has done since to highlight the plight of child refugees.

PICTURED: Minnie Simmonds, Eve’s foster mother who brought her to Netherfield

During the event, held at St George’s Centre, Gedling MP Vernon Coaker presented the 88-year-old with a framed picture of a new kindertransport memorial which has been installed at Liverpool Lime Street to remember those who managed to complete the journey to London.

Eve told people gathered at the centre she hopes other children fleeing war will now be helped by the Government.  Last year she went to Number 10 with other migrants to call on Teresa May to take in more child refugees.

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She said: ‘’I was given a chance in life because the British government allowed me in and I was offered a refuge here. I now hope more unaccompanied child refugees nowadays could be given a similar chance.”

PICTURED: Eve Leadbeater, aged eight

Mr Coaker expressed his admiration for the Netherfield pensioner during the event.

He said: “Eve was only eight years old when she travelled unaccompanied on Kindertransport to a country where she hardly knew the language.

“I personally feel that this day should never be forgotten, not only locally, but nationally and internationally. She left behind her home and family in order to escape the atrocities of the Holocaust, atrocities that her family were not able to escape from. 

“We should all pay our respects and remember all those people that suffered, that were tortured and killed during the Holocaust. There should be no place for prejudice and hate in society today. Eve’s history should be a lesson to us all.

“We should celebrate the amazing Eve Leadbeater and her compassion, her kindness, her strength and her intelligence.

“Eve has a continued relentless drive in her work, standing up for those suffering from persecution and hate, including refugees and asylum seekers.

He added: “Eve’s work has crossed many borders, locally, nationally and internationally. I am proud and honoured to call Eve a friend and it is only right that we celebrate this remarkable woman on such a pertinent day in history. Eve has not forgotten her history and neither should we’

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