Two residents from Wingrave and Aston Abbotts awarded for Anglo-Czech relations

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On Sunday 14th April, two local people from Wingrave and Aston Abbotts were given awards for their contributions towards Anglo-Czech relations by the Czech Embassy and British Czechoslovak Veterans Association.

On Sunday, 14th April, at a small informal ceremony at Wingrave, Mrs Pru Goodwin of Wingrave was given two awards in recognition of her continual hard work and enthusiasm, in maintaining the local memory of the Czechoslovaks who resided in exile locally during the war.

She had made a little exhibition of the photos, stories and mementoes she had collected.

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In 2020, Pru Goodwin met the Czech Ambassador Libor Sečka, and showed him the bus shelter which had been given to the villages of Aston Abbotts and Wingrave by the Czechoslovak Government in Exile in April 1944, and she promised him they were would get the bus shelter restored.

Pru Goodwin (centre) receiving her awards from Gerry Manolas (left) and W.O. Aleš Feistinger (rigth)Pru Goodwin (centre) receiving her awards from Gerry Manolas (left) and W.O. Aleš Feistinger (rigth)
Pru Goodwin (centre) receiving her awards from Gerry Manolas (left) and W.O. Aleš Feistinger (rigth)

It was subsequently restored by volunteers from Wingrave, and Pru wrote an information panel to explain its history and importance. This was unveiled on Sunday, 14th April 2024, to mark its 80th anniversary, with a speech given by local councillor Peter Cooper.

After this ceremony, refreshments were held at Wingrave Sports and Social Club at their recreation ground, where Pru Goodwin had an exhibition of the photos, stories and mementoes she had collected related to the Czechoslovaks in Wingrave.

It was then that a plaque was presented to Pru Goodwin of Wingrave by Gerry Manolas, Chair of the Memorial Association of Free Czechoslovak Veterans (MAFCSV).

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This read: "In recognition of her lifelong support, and work to commemorate the memory of the Czechoslovak Government in Exile and their service personnel based in Buckinghamshire, during WWII."

Mrs Goodwin was also given a medallion by the Czech Embassy. This is an award which the Czech Defence Attaché can give to people who make a special contribution to the memory of the Czech veterans.

It was given in person by Warrant Officer Aleš Feistinger, on behalf of the Defence Attaché Brig. General Vratislav Beran, who was unable to attend on the day as he was in the Czech Republic for work.

A similar medallion and award were also given to Mr Colin Higgs of Aston Abbotts who was unable to make it to the event. They were passed onto him later.

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He has done similar work in Aston Abbotts maintaining the memory of the Czechoslovaks in Aston Abbotts, when it was home to the exiled Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš, his family and household staff, and a platoon of soldiers who guarded him.

They Czechoslovaks left the Aylesbury Vale in 1945 when the war ended, but Pru and Colin remember them from when they were children.

Pru was at school with one of the Czech children, who she met again later in life.

Both Colin and Pru have both helped to organise a number of anniversary events over the decades.