Linda's Story

Linda Patterson, Principal of Millisle Primary School, heard about the Millisle Farm from Bobbie Hackworth the local historian. Bobbie kindly came into school, to talk about the Second World War with her Primary Five class each year and the idea of making a DVD came into fruition. “A Kinder Place, A Different World” (available on the Website) is an evocative DVD produced by the pupils telling the story in a mix of drama, interviews, poetry and historical information. Renate Aherns, an author, commented, “I watched the DVD with great interest. It’s very moving and so well done on an informative level and an artistic one.”  From the success of the DVD, came Mrs Patterson's dream of having a sculpture somewhere in Millisle, as a constant reminder, to the general public, of the part the Millisle community, including her School, had played during the Second World War.

The Holocaust Memorial Garden

The Holocaust Memorial Garden was opened in 2007 by members of the Belfast Jewish Community, some of whom had relations on that Jewish Committee who had leased the Farm, over 70 years ago. People now have a special place to visit with their families and friends; they can spend time in the garden. The garden was named “Safe Haven” as a reminder that this is what was provided for the Jewish community in Millisle. It has an eye-catching sculpture of a Star of David at its centre and provides a place for visitors to reflect.

Look in the Photo Gallery for a photo of Linda Patterson with pupils from Millisle Primary School in the Holocaust Memorial Garden.

Linda has become very knowledgeable about the Farm, from researching the 10 year period when the Farm was leased to the Jewish community and from meeting many people connected with the Farm story. She is always keen to pass on this knowledge to her pupils in Millisle Primary School and to the wider community. The school uses the original school Roll books from the War years in lessons to make sure the primary school children learn about their local link to this important aspect of the past.

The novel “Faraway Home” by Marilyn Taylor is also used in Literacy and World Around Us lessons to further engage their pupils, in this period of local history. The school-children take part in the annual Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorations  held in January each year and by doing so they are ensuring that this important event is not ever forgotten.

Oranges from Israel

Every Christmas, Mrs Patterson used to receive a crate of oranges from the Zell family, who live in Israel and she handed the oranges out to each family at the end of their Christmas Carol Service, as a gift from the Jewish community. Mr Zell had lived on the Farm and had helped build the barn. Unfortunately the barn has now been knocked down. The gift of the oranges was a poignant reminder that the help offered to these Jewish children had a lasting impact.

However it is in meeting the people involved and in the relationships developed that the true impact of the story is felt. Linda tells how meeting Edith Kohner, wife of the Farm administrator, was an amazing experience.  Linda explains, “One of my P5 girls asked her, "Did your daughters like living on the Farm?" Her answer will stay with me forever, she replied, "My daughters liked living.”

Due to people like Linda Patterson, who inspires others to appreciate this aspect of local history, the story of the Millisle Farm will never be forgotten. The caring atmosphere and sense of community in the school will ensure that these events and others like them will not be repeated.  

A kinder place; a different world

 

  • Exhibition display
  • Exhibition in Down County Museum 2013
  • Linda with pupils in the memorial garden
  • Millisle Primary School Roll Book 1939
  • Pupils preparing for Museum exhibition
  • Star of David sculpture in the garden