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Oranges and Sunshine: Empty Cradles Paperback – 17 Mar 2011
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"It is a story that defies belief." (Independent)
"The secrets of the lost children of Britain may never have been revealed if it had not been for [the actions of] Margaret Humphreys." (Sunday Times)
"A modern Florence Nightingale." (Sydney Morning Herald)
"A truly astonishing, haunting, real-life detective story." (She (Australia))
"Brought tears to my eyes. It is impossible to read...without thinking "These could be my parents. These could be my children."...Despite the sadness and anger at its centre, hope remains the principle message of this remarkable book." (Terry Waite The Times)
Now a major film, the book that exposed the scandal of Britain's forgotten and abused child migrants, previously published as Empty CradlesSee all Product description
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Like so many others, I had no idea about child migration until I saw a film on the television.
I was very upset about it and did my best to forget it. In vain! I had nightmares over and over. Still, when I saw the book I was unable to resist it.
Why? Because it could so easily have been me, along with my brother and sister!
It was 1955, my mother was ill and was hospitalised. My father, still traumatised after having survived four years in a concentration camp, worked nights in the local colliery.
I distinctly recall two social workers inspecting us as I sat with my brother and sister lined up on the settee in our front parlour.
My father argued with them that we were supervised at night by my aunt, who sat nearby nodding earnestly, so there was no need to take us into care.
This was a not true. As my father departed at 10.30pm every night I locked the door and took charge. I was nine, my sister was eight and my brother four.
My mother suffered for years with mental illness, my father was somewhat inclined to drink too much and I have often wondered whether we would have been better cared for in a home, foster home, or even adopted.
Now I know the answer.
Anything was better than the fate endured by the child migrants. When I think of what could have happened to my little brother!!We did the best we could to care for each other and stay together. Whatever else, we kept our roots, our extended family, friends and neighbours. I know where and when I was born and still have a relationship with my siblings. We have aged together and shared our very different lives and families.
We know who we are.
My heartfelt sympathy goes to each and every one of those of my peer group who suffered this outrage, wherever they are.
The book reveals the devastating consequences to the lives of these children. Many were too late to be reunited with their families years later and many had been told that they had no live family. But many, with the dedication of Margaret Humphries had that opportunity. This book will both shock and move you. A very emotive read, which has made me further research the places and people involved.
This is our history and Britain should be ashamed!