Wisbech, like a number of towns, has been selected to host asylum seekers as they await a chance to present their case to be recognised as refugees and begin the road towards a permanent home in the UK.
Wisbech Interfaith Forum member, Sean, took a party of eight young asylum seekers to look at the National Trust gardens at Peckover House.
“On the way we passed the memorial to the antislavery campaigner Thomas Clarkson. What must have gone through the mind of the tall elegant Sudanese as he looked at the figure in chains? On arrival at our destination the ‘guests’ from Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Kurdistan, while initially intrigued at what might be in store, were quickly captivated by the beautiful shrubs, trees, flowers, fauna and immersed themselves in the experience. Phones were clicking all over the place as they shared their pleasure with friends and relatives far afield.
“’We had no idea that such a beautiful place existed in Wisbech,’ was the one of the responses. It was evident that this blaze of colour and beauty captivated minds whose horizons are so occupied with the fear that any day they will receive the summons to leave the UK and go, God knows where!
“This outing also gave them a chance to enhance their proficiency in learning English with Alhadi from Sudan pointing at the objects in the former horse stables and asking what the English word was for hay, harness, etc. Shaho from Kurdistan was intrigued with the Orangery, ‘oranges growing in England’ he blurted out excitedly. His friend from Sudan talked about the luscious mangos, bananas, growing on the hillsides at home, and ‘anybody can help themselves’.
“Siavish, a shy Iranian car mechanic, kept snapping the sights of this intriguing town garden. ‘Why can’t we see more of Wisbech?’ said another, who must be tired of looking at the furniture of the historic former coaching house, his present if temporary home,” said Sean.
“We did not dwell greatly on their present reality or what the future holds for them. One has to hope that whatever the outcome they will remember that besides the trying and uncertain times ahead they have had a taste of the beauty of this country, and that kindness and hospitality have also featured in their experience.”
Pictured above is Sean Finlay with his Wisbech guests at Peckover House.