4. 90-second Statements

Part of the debate – in the Senedd at 3:19 pm on 13 July 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jayne Bryant Jayne Bryant Labour 3:19, 13 July 2022

Eighty-five years ago, following the bombing of Guernica during the Spanish civil war, 4,000 Basque children and accompanying adult staff were evacuated to Britain. It was a remarkable display of community grass-roots organisation. Over 200 children came to Wales, where homes known as 'colonies' were set up for refugees, one of which was in Cambria House in Caerleon, where 56 children arrived on 10 July 1937. It turned out to be one of the most successful in the UK. It was a time of high unemployment and poverty, but the people of Caerleon and Newport welcomed the children with open arms. Everyone was involved in fundraising, from the South Wales Miner's Federation and local volunteers, to the children themselves. They formed a formidable Basque football team, produced their own bilingual newspaper, and helped to raise money through traditional Basque dances and songs.

On this notable anniversary, I'm delighted that a delegation of the Basque Government will be at a series of events being held in Caerleon. The weekend of festivities includes football matches, dancers, singers and poets from both Wales and the Basque Country, seminars and talks, and also tours of Caerleon's Roman heritage. It promises to be a wonderful occasion. With war once again clouding over Europe, the parallels with refugees and the hospitality of the Welsh people are sadly very easy to see. The generosity and kindness of the people of Caerleon should be something our country is proud of. I'm so pleased it's being commemorated, and long may that relationship between our people continue to thrive.