National Holocaust Centre teacher from Thame gets British Empire Medal after overcoming broken hip

A Thame man was able to collect his British Empire Medal, recognising his work at the National Holocaust Centre, after recovering from a broken hip.
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John Fieldsend made it his mission to get his independence back in time to collect his British Empire Medal.

John’s determination combined with work from Home First made this a reality.

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John Fieldsend and his daughterJohn Fieldsend and his daughter
John Fieldsend and his daughter

Home First is a joint venture between Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH), and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust (OH).

After a lot of hard work, John’s goal was achieved last Wednesday (18 May), when along with his daughter he went to Buckingham Palace.

John who is in his 90s now, and lives in Thame, heard of the group back in March this year.

He looked into getting treatment with Home First after being hospitalised with his debilitating hip injury.

John first came to the UK as a child as part of the infamous Kindertransport that rescued thousands of Jewish children from mainland Europe in the 1930s.

He was granted a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s 2020 New Year’s Honours List.

John received royal acknowledgement for his work with the National Holocaust Centre, educating over 40,000 children and young people.

He has also published a book chronicling his experiences being displaced and sent to a foreign country as a child, during warfare.

A silver lining to a couple of years of Covid restrictions meant John was walking again by the time this month’s ceremony came around.

Upon being discharged from hospital, John worked closely with his Home First physiotherapist Sinead and other members of the team to improve his mobility, and was soon seeing progress.

John said: “One notices the stress. Of course, you’re aware services are stretched and sometimes there’s a little bit of a wait. But the care I received from March, from the ambulance team, the hospital staff, and the care team has been 100%.”

John also credited his supportive friends and family, who helped along the way, he added: “Behind all the support, I have had a group of friends who are prayerful and faithful. I have found that whenever good things have happened, a group of people have been praying.”