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:

Oxfordshire remains one of worst places for bed-blocking in the country

Oxford Mail: John Radcliffe Hospital stock

8:30am Friday 24th April 2015

A BEDBLOCKING crisis in the county has forced health bosses to launch a week-long blitz.

Police return to Mayfair Road house in Cowley as murder investigation continues

Oxford Mail:

7:07pm Friday 24th April 2015

POLICE officers have tonight returned to a house in Cowley after two arrests were made in the Barton murder investigations.

Man arrested after woman attacked at a Bicester house

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

4:11pm Friday 24th April 2015

A MAN has been arrested after a woman was attacked at a house in Bicester.

Missing African grey parrot Donna found safe in Wallingford

Oxford Mail:

3:19pm Friday 24th April 2015

A MISSING parrot has been found in Wallingford following a police appeal.

Trains in Oxfordshire delayed after vehicle hits bridge

Oxford Mail: oxford train station inside

2:46pm Friday 24th April 2015

TRAINS are delayed between Oxford, London Paddington, Reading and Swindon after a vehicle struck a bridge at Pangbourne.

Seven people arrested in St Thomas Street drug bust

Oxford Mail: police officer rear

11:38am Friday 24th April 2015

SEVEN people have been arrested in Oxford after a drugs raid in the city centre, police have revealed.

Roadworks, congestion and lack of modern offices driving businesses from city centre

Oxford Mail:

8:09am Friday 24th April 2015

ONLY one in 10 business bosses would choose to base their operation in Oxford, according to a new survey.

New scheme to improve child literacy is praised by teachers

Oxford Mail:

8:04am Friday 24th April 2015

TEACHERS have welcomed a new programme to help boost literacy skills among primary school pupils.

Second man is arrested as police continue to investigate murder

Oxford Mail:

7:58am Friday 24th April 2015

A SECOND man has been arrested in connection with the murder in Barton on Tuesday.

Four of Bullfinch sex gang trying to get out of jail early

Oxford Mail:

7:54am Friday 24th April 2015

FOUR members of an Oxford paedophile ring who were jailed through Operation Bullfinch have launched a bid to have their minimum prison sentences cut.

Hospital investigated incident involving rapist nurse in 2009

Oxford Mail:

6:45am Thursday 23rd April 2015

HOSPITAL bosses knew of a complaint of “inappropriate behaviour” by nurse Andrew Hutchinson five years before he was charged with raping two unconscious patients and filming other women.

Update: Woman taken to hospital with back injuries after A34 crash near Chilton

Oxford Mail: A34 traffic alert

3:20pm Thursday 23rd April 2015

A WOMAN has been taken to hospital after being involved in a crash on the A34 Northbound near Chilton.

Police release CCTV of fight at Maxwell's bar in Oxford

Oxford Mail:

12:38pm Thursday 23rd April 2015

Police today released CCTV footage after a fight in Maxwell’s Bar in Oxford.

UPDATE: North Way reopened after Barton murder investigations + second man arrested

Oxford Mail:

9:55am Thursday 23rd April 2015

POLICE have reopened the junction of North Way and Burchester Avenue in Barton after it was closed for a murder investigation.

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