Clippings bring memories of war-torn Bosnia flooding back

REUNITED: Former Abingdon Scout leader Kathy Hayward, right, with some of the clippings returned to her by Helen Turner, left

REUNITED: Former Abingdon Scout leader Kathy Hayward, right, with some of the clippings returned to her by Helen Turner, left

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

FORMER Abingdon Scout leader Kathy Hayward has been reunited with a box of memories she thought was lost.

In February, Devon Scout leader Helen Turner discovered a bag in the roof of her Scout hall full of newspaper clippings about Mrs Hayward from the 1990s.

Twenty years ago, Mrs Hayward, then Kathy Chalmers, had responses from across the country with her Pass the Parcel shoebox collection for victims of the Bosnian War.

As well as collecting hundreds of tons of items, the five-year campaign, sponsored by the Oxford Mail, saw her travel to the warzone seven times.

In 1999, Mrs Hayward moved to Devon, loaned her archive to the Honiton Scouts to learn about Pass the Parcel, and never got around to picking it up.

Mrs Turner had no idea how the clippings ended up in the hut until last month when Mrs Hayward, living 10 minutes down the road in Honiton, heard about the discovery of her clippings.

On February 15, an Oxford Mail story on Mrs Turner’s search for the Abingdon Scout leader was spotted by Mrs Hayward’s daughter Natalie, who still lives in Abingdon.

So Mrs Hayward went back to the Scout hall, met Mrs Turner, and relived memories she had forgotten.

Mrs Hayward, who turned 60 in May, said: “This is the most wonderful 60th birthday present anyone could have given me.

“It is so surreal the story came to Honiton via Abingdon.

“I had forgotten about a lot of it, I even gave them a part of my diary.

“It has just blown me away.”

She added: “I put on so much mascara that day when I went to meet Helen and said I wouldn’t cry but as soon as I got out I went to the nearest toilet and started crying.

“Helen is a lovely girl. I walked in and I got this great big hug. It was something else.”

Reunited with the bag of clippings from the Oxford Mail, Mrs Hayward remembered just what a surreal and, at times, terrifying experience she had in Bosnia.

She said: “We were shot at, I’ve been through sniper alley.

“You go through a checkpoint you don’t recognise, your tyres are shot, these guys are walking around with rifles, what do you do?”

In 1993, she and Oxford Mail photographer John Lawrence travelled to Split on the Croatian coast to deliver aid. She remembered: “One night, one of the United Nations soldiers came in.

“I had never seen a grown man cry before, he was in tears.

“I said ‘what’s going on?’ and he told us he had just found about 50 refugees about a mile up the road but couldn’t bring them into the camp.

“Some of the sites were horrific.”

In September, she and husband Brian will return to Croatia for the first time since 1997.

She said: “It’s going to be emotional but it is also a celebration.”

Top News
Our top stories:

Tackling self-harm prioritised as hospitalisation figure rises

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Wednesday 1st July 2015

THE number of young people self-harming in the county has risen by more than 100 in a year.

Drowning confirmed as cause of death of Aown Dogar who was pulled from the Thames near Donnington Bridge

Oxford Mail:

1:34pm Wednesday 1st July 2015

AN INQUEST has been opened this afternoon for 13-year-old Aown Dogar who died last week.

Man taken to hospital with chest and arm injuries after 'fear for welfare' incident in Jericho

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:05am Wednesday 1st July 2015

A man needed hospital treatment last night after suffering chest and arm injuries at a house in Jericho.

Temperatures expected to soar to scorching 30C in Oxford today as the heatwave continues

Oxford Mail:

10:58am Wednesday 1st July 2015

SUNBATHERS will need to put on plenty of sun cream in Oxford today as temperatures will hit a maximum of 30 degrees celsius, according to the Met Office.

Two-car crash in Marcham near Abingdon

Oxford Mail: Traffic Alert general

9:38am Wednesday 1st July 2015

Two cars have been involved in a crash this morning in Marcham near Abingdon.

Dealer given jail term after police found £29k of heroin and cocaine

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

9:00am Wednesday 1st July 2015

A DRUG dealer has been jailed after he was caught with £29,000 worth of heroin and cocaine.

Community response ‘wonderful’ after school fire

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Wednesday 1st July 2015

STAFF and pupils from Magdalen College School said they have been overwhelmed by the support of the community after a fire gutted its drama building.

Pupils enjoy their ‘poignant’ trip to Meadow Farm

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Wednesday 1st July 2015

WASPS, wildflowers and whitethroats were just a few of the highlights for pupils visiting the Marvellous Meadows day in Bicester.

Alcohol a factor in motorist's death on New Year’s Day, inquest told

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Wednesday 1st July 2015

A VEHICLE mechanic who died after losing control of his car on New Year’s Day was more than three times over the drink-drive limit, an inquest heard.

Ten-year-old gives advice on park at council meeting

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Wednesday 1st July 2015

FINLEY Halcrow became the most powerful schoolboy in Witney for a day as he became a council advisor.

Over 100 Oxfordshire schools may be ordered to turn academy

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Wednesday 1st July 2015

MORE than 100 primary schools and 11 secondary schools in Oxfordshire could be told they are “coasting” and made academies under tougher new Government rules.

Revving revellers enjoy ‘best ever’ village bike night

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Wednesday 1st July 2015

THE peaceful evening calm of an Oxfordshire village was shattered when more than 10,000 bikers roared into town.

Rush to surf internet gathers pace as Oxfordshire gets wired up

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Wednesday 1st July 2015

THE number of regular internet users in Oxfordshire rose by 22,000 in the first three months of this year compared to the same period two years ago.

Comedian Noel Fielding's painting auctioned for Oxford hospice

Oxford Mail:

6:30am Wednesday 1st July 2015

A BIZARRE painting by television star and comedian Noel Fielding is to be auctioned to raise money for Oxford children’s hospice Helen & Douglas House.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree