I would love to share with you a letter to the editor, published recently in Let’s Talk Magazine, an East Anglian magazine from the Archant stable. During the summer I had responded to an earlier letter in the magazine detailing her wish to meet with Joe. I suggested I drive him to her home for tea and we duly turned up one summer’s day this year. It was lovely to see Anne so ‘star struck’ and Joe was on good form. Here is her letter – it seems we did the right thing!
Tea and a few tears with Joe from Ann Ramsbottom Little Plumstead, Norwich
Many thanks for publishing my letter re Joe Stirling (March). As a result, I received a call from Phyllida Scrivens, who is writing his biography. Now a firm friend of his, she said he and his niece would be lunching with her. Having shown him my letter to you, he was happy to come over for a visit to us.
Of course I was surprised and delighted, and they duly arrived. Joe had a captive audience as he recounted some of his experiences. It is one thing to read of the atrocities inflicted on the Jewish population, but quite another to listen to someone who, together with his family, had actually suffered them.
I had to tear myself away to be a good hostess and make tea, so missed some of the conversation.
Joe is a charming gentleman and thanked me for inviting him to our home as he is just an ordinary man. I couldn’t agree with him there and said the thanks were all mine as it was an honour. I had hoped some day to catch one of his talks and meet him then but never imagined I would be serving him tea and home made cake in our home. He complimented me on the cake and laughingly asked for the recipe.
I complimented him on his taste in shirts and he quickly asked how much I would give him for it. As Phyllida said, he was a businessman.
Both Phyllida and Gail, his niece, were warm and charming ladies and I am so grateful to Phyllida taking time out of her busy life to bring them on a visit to us.
My husband and I enjoyed every moment despite a few tears on hearing of some of Joe’s experiences on his trek to freedom. I cannot wait to read the book, to be published January 2016.