MICK was given one helluva send-off when he died a few months ago.

It had been standing room only at the large parish church for the funeral service.

A former mayor, a one-time top official in the National Union of Mineworkers and a high-ranking St John Ambulance officer each gave a eulogy, superlative deposing superlative with each new speaker. The town had lost someone special; he had endured years on the coal face and saved many colleagues and townsfolk with his knowledge of First Aid. He was a dedicated sportsman, always encouraging scores of boys and girls to take up athletics.

But it hadn’t always been like that.

When he first arrived in 1950, Mikolaj – that was his proper name – was one of a large group of Polish men and women who had fled from communist domination after a wartime of deprivation, death and destruction.

They were branded as fifth columnists, layabouts, the men out to violate the entire female population and the women to swamp the still fledgling National Health Service. Their loyalty to the allies in the recent war, in which Mick’s father, a pilot had died, was conveniently forgotten, They were, after all, only refugees.

What more is there to say?

OXFORD has been at its protesting best this week. First the sizeable the pro-refugees gatherings at the weekend; on Tuesday it was the turn of young mothers and their offspring, out to make the morning uncomfortable for county councillors as members arrived at County Hall for their meeting where they would discuss the possible closure of 44 children’s centres.

What a cheerful lot they were! They made their point without any unpleasantness and eventually filtered away to fulfil maternal duties. (One mum said her young son needed breast feeding, so any delaying on my part would have been totally inappropriate.) Future plans? They would be pressing their cause with the high and low.

A parliamentary constituency office in Witney was on the agenda to visit.

Could the Right Honourable Member influence a change of heart with the county as quickly as public opinion on refugees made him think twice only days before?

CHEERFUL Cowley grandfather James was heading for the fair in St Giles. With him were five young descendants.

“They’ve all decided which roundabouts they want to ride,” he told me.

“It works out at about half a dozen each.”

I hadn’t the heart to tell him he faced an outlay of £60 minimum – before the candy floss.

THE things you see in Queen Street: a smiling student perched on his stationary unicycle reading a Bible, and a serious-faced monk striding along hooked on his mobile phone.