Tag: Lions International

Joe’s funeral, a beautiful occasion

Yesterday, 6th March 2020, Joe’s family hosted a wonderful afternoon of memories, tears and smiles, with well over a hundred people squeezing into the tranquil Woodland Hall at Green Acres Woodland Burial Park in Norwich.  There was someone from every part of Joe Stirling’s long and remarkable life, family members of all generations, civic colleagues including the current Norwich Lord Mayor, Rabbis from the Norwich Synagogue, people from business, his former committees, Lions Club International, the travel industry and from the Nursing home where he ended his days.  The humanist celebrant gave a wonderful summary of his life including a mention for Escaping Hitler, commenting on how much joy the experience of working on his life story had given to Joe in his final years.

The guests and well -wishers were invited back to the Sainsbury’s Centre at the University of East Anglia for a drink, a buffet and to share many memories of ‘knowing Joe Stirling’.  The beautiful spray of yellow and white flowers, created by Elizabeth’s Florist of Unthank Road, that had graced the coffin, were brought into the hall where they took centre stage on the sumptuous buffet table.  There were photos of Joe and his family on the walls and it was so good to become reacquainted with many people whom I had interviewed when researching Joe’s life.  Joe was a special man and there are many who will miss his friendship.

Joe requested that instead of flowers, friends might like to contribute to one of his favourite international causes, UNICEF.  If you would like to add your name please call Gordon Barber Funeral Home in Norwich on 01603 484308 and ask how you can help.

Escaping Hitler Presentation at Mulbarton Words Festival June 2016

I am indebted to Terence Burchell from Mulbarton near Norwich for this video of me speaking to a lovely audience at Hanover Gardens, Mulbarton in June this year, as part of the Mulbarton Words Festival.  I hope some of you will take 30 minutes of your lives to watch as I describe the early life of Joe Stirling, Kindertransport boy and former Sheriff of Norwich, as well as a little about how my debut biography came to be published by Pen and Sword Books in January.  In January 2017 this remarkable man’s story will be available even more widely when Skyhorse Publishing of New York publish and distribute my book to the book lovers of the U.S.A.  To purchase a signed copy directly from me take a look at the menu on this WordPress blog to find my contact details.  Many thanks….

Royal British Legion Wymondham meets Joe Stirling!

 

10435411_1574650756087595_1576221161362809533_n

Joe and I had a wonderful evening yesterday (18th July 2016) visiting members of the Royal British Legion, in the picturesque Norfolk town of Wymondham.  There was an excellent audience for our presentation on Joe’s biography, Escaping Hitler, and you could have heard a pin drop during Joe’s 30 minute long talk about his early life in Nazi Germany.  I picked up the story when he joins the British Army, showing some photographs from Joe’s years as a soldier, rarely seen at our talks. They especially enjoyed the photo of Maryhill Barracks in Glasgow (whispers of ‘I trained there’) and the one of Joe’s wife Jean inside a shell casing at Bramley Barracks near Basingstoke.

There were people there who had known Joe in past years and he was delighted to share personal memories with them. A retired member of Lions Club International endorsed Joe’s wonderful work with them for over fifty years. We felt very welcome and were impressed by the large number of books we signed at the end of the evening!  Our thanks go to  Chairman John Morter and Entertainments Officer Roy McGee for inviting us to share Joe’s remarkable story with your members.

SIX MONTHS ANNIVERSARY OF PUBLICATION OF ESCAPING HITLER

 

12741598-colorful-iced-birthday-cake-with-candles-Stock-Vector

SIX MONTHS AGO today, 5th January 2016, my debut biography Escaping Hitler (foreword by Shirley Williams) was published by Pen and Sword Books.  I will never forget the incredible moment when my first 200 copies arrived in six boxes at my house! And when I first presented Joe Stirling with his personal copy!  Since that date so much has happened to me and to the book that I felt this was an appropriate moment to share the phenomonal achievements so far.

Over 30 published articles and reviews including local Archant publications, the Journal from the Association of Jewish Refugees, Lion Magazine and the Rhein Zeitung, regional newspaper for the Rhineland around Koblenz.

Grand official launch at Jarrold Department Store in Norwich on 4th February with 220 people in the audience.  We signed over 50 books that night!

Appeared in Jarrold’s National Bestsellers lists for five weeks running, including No.1 during week of February 13th 2016!

29 Public and private talks and powerpoint presentations including two in Germany (Koblenz Federal Archive and the village of Nickenich).  Seven more in the diary between now and July 2017.  More welcomed!

Escaping Hitler appears in Norfolk Libraries. Waiting lists build up to borrow copies.

403 followers on Facebook and 112 on Twitter

542 copies sold directly from me and Joe, 297 of them signed and sold at our speaking engagements.

From the initial 1300 print run Pen and Sword is now down to the final 200 in the warehouse.  Plans for a further hardback run and a little later for a softback.

In March this year New York Publisher Skyhorse bought the option to publish and distribute Escaping Hitler onto the U.S. market. Projected date for this is January 3rd 2017. I have recently received my Authors Questionnaire in order for us to work together on a marketing plan.  (This was beyond my wildest expectations!)

Escaping Hitler entered for two major Book  Awards – watch this space!

And finally, as a result of the marketing successes so far, I am now contracted to Pen and Sword for a second biographical book: My Lady Lord Mayor: The Seventeen Female Lord Mayor of Norwich 1923-2017.  Estimated publication end 2017/early 2018.

So more work ahead!!

My sincere thanks to everyone who follows this blog, my Facebook page and my Twitter feed, and especially those who have already bought and read the book!  Without your support the statistics would not look nearly as good!

Don’t forget – by clicking on the menu at the top of this page you will find full details of how to order your personally signed copy directly from me. The book makes a great gift!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magical contact from the Past in Koblenz

As a result of the recent articles in the Rhein-Zeitung in Koblenz and surrounding areas, on my book events in Koblenz and Nickenich, I have received an email from a lady called Hildegard.  She lives about 20km from Koblenz and when reading her newspaper recognised the last known address of Alfred and Ida Strern, the Jewish parents of Günter Stern, now known as Joe Stirling, the subject of my book Escaping Hitler.  Hildegard’s mother, now 90 years of age, moved with her family into the same block of houses,next door to the Sterns, some months after little Günter had climbed aboard his Kindertransport to freedom. Over her life Hildegard’s mother had often spoken of the Jewish couple who were taken away by the Nazis in 1942, remembering them fondly, especially her neighbour Ida.  Hildegard has now requested to buy a copy of my book for her mother to read about what happened to Ida’s son, the boy she no doubt spoke about often.

Wonderful enough to receive this email, but even better, Hildegard has now kindly sent me a photo of the block of houses in Görgenstrasse, Koblenz, from the autumn of 1939, shortly after her mother moved in with her parents. It is believed that the Sterns lived on the upper floor.  This is a wonderful image from the past. I would like to share with you now the photograph, alongside the one of how the building looks today.  Outside the house  there are now two Stolpersteine (engraved brass plates) in honour of Alfred and Ida.  This journey with Joe just keeps on giving.

görgenstr. 6

DSC04210IMG_6319

Perfect Father’s Day Gift

Sunday 19th June is Father’s Day in Great Britain so there is still time to buy your signed copy of Escaping Hitler as the perfect gift for Dad. A boy’s own story of despair in Nazi Germany which changes to one of hope and determination, success against all the odds. Joe Stirling’s full life has been dominated by family, his pioneering travel business, community work, his year as Sheriff of Norwich and his 50 years plus with Lions Clubs International.  The book also includes many anecdotal details of the history of Norwich over five decades.  I have been touched and delighted with people’s comments about this biography of a Kindertransport refugee who escaped Nazi Germany and finally settled in Norfolk.  It is available on Amazon.co.uk, from Pen and Sword Books, from Jarrold Book Shop in Norwich or to buy a signed copy (by both the author and Joe Stirling) take a look at the instructions on the Menu tab on this website. £19.50 plus £4 postage (U.K. only)  I look forward to hearing from you.

IMG_4824IMG_4823

Joe Stirling reading his own biography!

JOE RETURNS TO LIONS CONVENTION

After two years away, Past District Governor Lion Joe Stirling of City of Norwich Club, and subject of his biography, returned to the Lions Convention for his District 105EA. This time he was not a delegate, instead he and his biographer (me!) were invited to promote the story of Joe’s life.  Copies of Escaping Hitler proved popular with the many Lions who came up to speak to us at Stoke by Nayland Country Club today, many of whom have been close friends with Joe for many decades.  I enjoyed hearing them swopping memories and stories, many of which already appear in the book!  We had a great day and I would like to thank District Governor Chris Crick and Convention Host Peter Smith for their warm welcome.

 

First published Review of Escaping Hitler in Let’s Talk Magazine

To my delight, on pages 40-41 of the April edition of Archant’s Let’s Talk Magazine published today, I found a wonderful two page review of Escaping Hitler.  Leading journalist Derek James has written an excellent summary of Joe’s remarkable story, leaving the reader wanting more….  hopefully this will prompt some to buy their own copy!  Today is a good day…..

 

IMG_4893IMG_4895

Reminder of how to get your signed copy of Escaping Hitler

With Escaping Hitler standing at No.1 in Jarrold’s list of best-selling national titles this week, I thought I’d remind you how to get hold of your copy direct from me, guaranteed to be signed by both Joe and the author (me!).  Exciting few weeks coming up, Norwich Writers’ Circle tonight, The Norfolk Club and Wymondham Heritage Society next week. During week of 29th Feb we are appearing at Norwich Community History Club, Mercedes Owners’ Club East Anglia and Walsingham History Society.  Joe’s story goes ‘on the road’!

1. TO GET YOUR COPY:  EITHER mail a cheque payable to Mrs P Scrivens at 7 St Lucia Court, 38 Yarmouth Road, Norwich NR7 0EQ along with your home address and telephone number and I will mail a book out to you along with a receipt. Special discounted price of  £19.50 plus £4 p&p.

2. OR call me on 01603 300212 and quote me your credit or debit card details  I have a Paypal machine so I can take cards over the phone. I will then mail your book.

3. OR email me at phyllida.scrivens@icloud.com and I will email you my bank account details by return so that you can pay electronically. Once it is cleared I will mail your book.

All books will be mailed in a cardboard mailer which can fit two books. Postage the same price for two books as for one.

4. OVERSEAS FOLLOWERS: Unfortunately postage from the UK is very expensive in small quantities. I would advise you to order from either Amazon.co.uk or from Pen and Sword Books website at http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Escaping-Hitler-Hardback/p/11628. Pen and Sword can send out signed copies if you request this at the end of the online ordering process.  It is also available on Amazon Kindle and other online bookstores.

And having read, please post up a review on Amazon.co.uk. You DO NOT have to have bought from Amazon to post a review and every review counts…!  Thanks everyone.

2204964

Launch of Escaping Hitler 4th February 2016

My thanks to Jarrold book department in Norwich for a spectacular book launch and signing last evening, Thursday 4th February.  I had the joy of launching my debut book in front of over 200 history and book lovers, including family, friends, local historians, writers, academics and followers of my subject Joe Stirling.  I spoke from a podium, using a hand microphone for about 45 minutes, before inviting 91 year old Joe to join me for a question and answer session.  Unusually I aimed my address at honouring those in the audience who gave up their time over the past four years to share memories of Joe with me. Joe was amazing answering half a dozen questions and we both enjoyed the unexpectedly strenuous task of signing over 60 books for those buying a book on the night.  An evening never to be forgotten and with over 25 public speaking events in my diary throughout 2016, there are many more opportunities to share Joe’s story and to sign and sell books……