Not my usual sort of post but I have to pay tribute to Sir Nicholas Winton, a quiet, modest, great man.
Sir Nicholas saved the lives of almost 700 Jewish children from Czechoslavakia in 1939 by arranging for them to leave mainland Europe and arrive in the UK after a tense journey through Nazi Germany.
So modest was he that it was only relatively recently that those he saved, many very young children at the time, discovered who their saviour was.
In a memorable TV program with Esther Rantzen, Sir Nicholas was brought into the studio on a pretence. His story was then told.
It was then revealed that the woman sitting right next to him was, unbeknown to him, one of the young children he saved.
Then, in one of the most moving moments of TV I can ever remember, Esther Rantzen asked anyone else in the audience who was on a Kindertransport arranged by Nicholas Winton to stand up. Every single member of the audience stood up.
I cried buckets.
There is a wonderful Jewish Talmudic saying:
Whoever saves a single life, it is as if he had saved the whole world.
And the truth of this is the number of children and grandchildren and, no doubt, great grandchildren who owe their existence to Sir Nicholas. They number in the thosuands.
Sir Nicholas is now 100 years old. This week many of those he saved retraced their journey from Prague to London renewing friendships and sharing memories before a reunion with Sir Nicholas.
I have to mention a tenuous connection to Sir Nicholas. When I was at school, one of my best friends was the son of a young boy saved by Nicholas Winton. He became one of the greatest British film directors of his generation – Karel Reisz.