Sunday, March 20, 2016

British Humanitarians – Royal Mail First Day Cover

The newest Royal Mail First Day Cover is dedicated to British Humanitarians. From struggles in Victorian England against hypocrisy and violence, to campaigns to feed the dispossessed and the young in the wake of two world wars, there were many battles waged by these six outstanding individuals conducted across time, frontiers and under very different circumstances.
Among these British humanitarians are three women and three men who went beyond symptoms to attack the causes of inequality, deprivation and ignorance, mending shattered bodies and minds, and rescuing the vulnerable. There were driven human beings, sharing two significant characteristics - a natural concern for their fellow citizens of the world and a single-minded desire to help those in need.

Nicholas Winton (1909 – 2015). In 1939, Nicholas Winton played a crucial role in saving 669 Czech children from certain death at the hands of the Nazis by organising safe passage to the UK through his Kindertransport work. During 18-hour days in Prague, he visited refugee camps, conducted interviews and complied lists of children’s names for evacuation. He continued his vital work in London, finding foster parents, arranging transport and lobbying governments.
Sue Ryder (1924 – 2000). After serving in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War, Sue Ryder volunteered for relief work in Europe, where she helped the displaced, orphans and concentration camp survivors. In 1953, she established the Sue Ryder Foundation, and over the next few years the organisation would set up more than 80 homes worldwide for people suffering from physical or mental problems.
John Boyd Orr (1880 – 1971). A leading expert in food and nutrition, John Boyd Orr advocated improvements in the global supply of food to provide “sufficient food for all mankind.” In 1945, he was appointed the first director – general of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation. The following year, he established an International Emergency Food Council to address the post-war food crisis. In 1949, Boyd Orr was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Eglantyne Jebb (1876 – 1928). Dedicated to improving the welfare of children, Eglantyne Jebb founded the ‘Save the Children Fund’ in 1919. In the early 1920s, she drafted the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child,’ which was brought before the League of Nations’ Assembly in September 1924 and unanimously adopted by the League. It was one of Save the Children’s first breakthroughs in improving the lives of children across the world.
Joseph Rowntree (1836 – 1925). Joseph Rowntree began his quest to enhance employees’ lives while working for the family confectionery business in York, introducing welfare programmes, medical services, pension schemes and sick benefits for the workforce. In 1904, he used half of his wealth to set up three trusts that were created to give support to social research and adult education, and to build respectable but affordable housing for the working classes.
Josephine Butler (1828 – 1906). In an age when voteless middle – and working-class women were subjected to inequality and exploitation, Josephine Butler campaigned ardently for the rights of women. Most famously, she was pivotal in the battle against the Contagious Diseases Acts, which denied certain women their civil rights. Her attention was also drawn to fights for women’s suffrage, education for women and against child prostitution.

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