Found&Lost have now completed our 2 week WalesLab R&D period for The Ballad of Ivor Jones. Thank you to National Theatre Wales for this incredible opportunity. We’ve worked with some wonderful children and their families and amassed a wealth of raw material which we shall be developing over the coming months.
On Thursday night, around 50 people came together to participate in a sharing – the culmination of our time together. Our video installation was accompanied by Voices of the Valley who performed a beautiful and haunting new arrangement of Clychau Aberdyfi/The Bells of Aberdovey by Imogen O’Rourke. We also presented a slide show of some of our images alongside a soundscape devised (using recordings of the children involved in our workshops) by Christopher Michael Young. Special thanks to Chris for his hard work and technical skills on the night – we would’ve been stuck without him.
Finally, whilst researching Ivor’s story I contacted the British Home Child Advocacy and Research Association. They were able to locate several documents pertaining to Ivor’s story. Knowing about our project, I was contacted by a woman in Canada called Carol, asking if I’d like to see images of her family’s BHC, George. Carol had no idea where I live and it transpired that George was born just 5 minutes down the road from me! I started researching locally but hit a wall. I then contacted Cat Whiteaway to see if she could help.
On the day of our sharing, I received the following email from Carol…
I just wanted to wish you luck today with The Ballad of Ivor Jones (saw your post on Facebook.)
And thank you, because of your interest in these children I have found a member of my husband Tom’s Grandfather George Llewellyn Thomas’s family!!!
After the BBC radio interview and the post on Cat Whiteaway’s blog she received a request for my email address. The woman who contacted her descends from the brother of George’s mother Elizabeth Mary Haines. His name was Henry Haines and she is his granddaughter. Two wonderful things resulted from her email to me: she has a photograph of the family with Elizabeth Mary, her brothers and sisters as teenagers and their parents. Two generations that we only know as names from George’s Barnardo papers. I can’t wait to see the photo. The most wonderful and ironic news is that she emigrated to Canada in 1987 and actually lives in the same town where I grew up and where my Mother-in-law lives. They have lived in the same town for 27 years and never knew each other and they were second cousins!!!
We are meeting tomorrow for lunch at her house and I have prepared her a binder of George’s life story and photos of the members of the Canadian branch of the family. Of course her family knew nothing of George’s existence. So she may have thought she was the only Haines family member living in Canada, but she now has 52 relatives here in Canada.
Again, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!! For taking an interest in these forgotten children and helping me find what George was unable to do in his lifetime – reconnect with home.
So, here’s to Ivor Jones, the little lost Welsh boy who was sent across the ocean never to return. His legacy is undoubtedly far beyond anything he could’ve imagined and he is not forgotten.
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