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Dear Members and Friends,
It’s already the end of the year. Unfortunately, it also means saying “Good Bye” to some of our staff. Rachel Shilson has worked in the Youth Office since 2012. She placed au pairs, looked after them, offered courses in colloquial English, cared for our volunteers and mentored them, organised After School Clubs and was a dear friend and colleague to us. Johanna Wohlers, Sarah Rehm and Felix Becker, our volunteers from Germany, will return home in December. We thank you and we shall miss you all.

The YMCA Team

info@gwc-london.org.uk | u.bauer@german-ymca.org.uk


Zum Geburtstag im November wünschen wir von Herzen Gottes Segen:

Natalia Albertini, Honore Amici, Noele Barnfield, Mala Chavda, Anna Cocumarolo, Jane Cooper, Nancy de la Torre, Elsa Garcia Lopez, Ruth Marie Gee, Inge Green, Sybille Hataanen, Estelle King, Frank Knight, Anne Kühn, Thomas Löber, Philip Mallinckrodt, Ursula Mitchell, Helma Olohan, John Peacham, Daniela Robotham, Andrew Sawdon, Elisabeth Silberhorn, Peter Stokes, Anneliese Swift, Renate Wiese und Tsutom Yamamoto.
Happy Birthday to you all, Uwe Maynard

Get to know our members: Peter Stokes

I grew up near Derby. When I was 13 my parents emigrated to Australia on a White Star boat, the Georgic (all their names ended on “-ic”, like the Titanic). I loved every minute of the journey. I had started grammar school in Britain and finished high school and teacher’s college in Australia. I then went on to teach in four Bush Schools, three of them on the Murray River. The kids were all angels and I never needed to raise my voice. I lived on a citrus farm and learned tennis there.

In 1963 I returned to England. My intention was to stay for a year. I stretched the time a bit. I like to think of the last 58 years here as a kind of holiday. Fittingly I began with a holiday job at Selfridges and just stayed on until retirement.

I got to know some tennis players in Regent’s Park and one of them, Frank Knight, took me to the German YMCA, in about 1965. The hotel had not been built yet. I liked the atmosphere. There were evenings of Scottish Dancing, the same dances I had learned in Australia. The people were lovely and I felt at home.
A strong reason to extend my stay was music. That had lured me here in the first place. I had always enjoyed classical music on the radio and I came over to hear Joan Sutherland and other stars. I fell in love with the Proms, Sadlers Wells. Covent Garden and the Festival Hall. I shared a flat in Crystal Palace and my flat mates took me to a concert at the latter. The London Mozart Players performed Haydn’s 44th symphony, a Mozart piano concert and his Linzer symphony. After that I just kept coming for more.

At the YMCA I have been volunteering for programmes and on the Board and since the early 2000s I host my own music programmes on a Wednesday afternoon, first only in summer, from 2007 throughout the year. Since 2010 we even have live concerts occasionally on a Wednesday. The next one will be in February.


You can buy jars of London Honey for £9, a share of which supports our YMCA. During office hours you can get them from Reception. It’s delicious!

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