Day of celebration for Melton’s Polish community

Polish food served at the event celebrating 70 years of the community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162031001
Polish food served at the event celebrating 70 years of the community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162031001
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Dozens of people of Polish descent gathered in Melton on Sunday to celebrate the 70th anniversary of their community being established in the town.

They converged on The Polish Club, on Sandy Lane, to look at displays of photos and hear talks from residents, some of whom were among the first to come to Melton following the Second World War.

Children in traditional Polish dress with Mayor of Melton, Councillor Pru Chandler, at the event celebrating 70 years of the community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162120001

Children in traditional Polish dress with Mayor of Melton, Councillor Pru Chandler, at the event celebrating 70 years of the community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162120001

The town’s wartime air base became a Polish resettlement site, with many families living in freezing cold barrel-shaped Nissen huts.

Many of the original people were the families of Polish airmen who had been based at the town’s airfield.

One of the organisers of Sunday’s event, Sylwia Orzech, said: “The event was really to celebrate the Polish parish being set up in Melton in 1948.

“We had six ladies on the stage who had come here just after the war in 1946.

Displays showing 70 years of the Polish community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162019001

Displays showing 70 years of the Polish community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162019001

“They left Poland as young young children and went to Siberia, and then India and Africa, before ending up in England.

“It was very moving for many of the people who were there on Sunday because we didn’t know these stories.”

One of the highlights of the event was a dance performance by children dressed in traditional Polish clothing.

Around 200 people attended, including Mayor of Melton, Councillor Pru Chandler, and representatives of Melton Town Estate.

Children dressed in tradtional Polish clothes at the event celebrating 70 years of the community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162108001

Children dressed in tradtional Polish clothes at the event celebrating 70 years of the community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162108001

Guests enjoyed a range of different Polish dishes.

Sylwia said: “There are about 1,000 people from Polish families in Melton at the moment, and we had a very good turnout to this event.

“I was surprised by how people really engaged with the event, and it was nice for the children from our community to learn about the history of how their families came to be in Melton.

“We want to organise some more events like this because it went so well.”

Conversations take place at the event celebrating 70 years of the Polish community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162043001

Conversations take place at the event celebrating 70 years of the Polish community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162043001

The day began with a Mass at the Polish Church, in Sandy Lane, before activities began in The Polish Club at noon.

It went on until 5pm with guests also taking the oppostunity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Poland gaining its independence.

Attendees enjoy one of the talks at the event celebrating 70 years of the community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162055001

Attendees enjoy one of the talks at the event celebrating 70 years of the community in Melton'PHOTO Rafal Orzech EMN-181113-162055001