BARNSLEY marked Holocaust Memorial Day last week and residents raised vital funds for a charity linked to the event.

More than 50 people attended the meeting in the town hall on Friday, with Mayor of Barnsley Coun Mick Stowe giving a moving speech on how Barnsley campaigners have stood up against racism for many years.

South Yorkshire Mayor Oliver Coppard gave a powerful account of how his grandparents had managed to flee the Holocaust, his grandmother having to flee hidden in a herring boat.

Oliver pointed out that today people seeking safety are also having to use small boats.

That message was emphasised by a refugee from South Sudan who told his story of having to flee persecution and praising Barnsley for having provided him with a warm welcome.

George Arthur, chair of the Barnsley Holocaust Memorial Day group, told the Chronicle: “Our planning group are very pleased that the event was so successful.

“Two events stood out as highlights.

“The first was the contribution of school students.

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“Two pupils from Horizon Academy gave readings that illustrated the background to the Holocaust and to how some people risked their lives to give refuge to Jews.

“There was also a display of work from the HMD schools competition run by the National Education Union.

“Both primary and secondary pupils displayed great skill and understanding in their entries.

“The second was that speakers representing the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths came together to display a very positive message of hope and unity.

“The theme for our event was to bring people together to support all that unites us to prevent the horrors of the past not just the Nazi holocaust but also those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.”

A collection for the national Holocaust Memorial Day Trust raised £70, an indication that those attending are determined that the event is well marked each year, George added.