We have always known of the massive public support for Pestalozzi in the UK when it started up. This initially helped fund needy British children to attend the Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Switzerland. It then helped to establish a similar international community in Sussex in 1959. To this end, British people bought many, many thousands of the charity’s ladybird pins.
Importantly, we also know that those supporters have not forgotten their enthusiasm for Pestalozzi. We continue to encounter people who instantly recognise the Village’s ladybird – 60 or more years after their involvement! It’s always exciting to hear the stories recalled by these wonderful people.
Here’s one story we have just received!
Sue Smith was tidying some drawers and came across her very special Pestalozzi ladybird pin – decorated with a gold leaf. This prompted her to search online for “Pestalozzi” last week.
When Sue discovered the Early Pestalozzi Children Project website, she read our article about the important effect of donating just one shilling. This moved her to let us know about her own connection to the Village.
As a young student she heard about the Pestalozzi Children’s Village. Their plans inspired her to support the charity. “I was very taken with the idea of raising money for the scheme by selling the ladybird pins!” Sue told us. She went on to say, “I sold the pins to fellow pupils at Chorley Grammar School in Lancashire. I was there from September 1956 to July 1963 . . . I remember explaining what I knew about the project to other pupils and some teachers and persuading them to buy the pins.”
So how come Sue has this unusual ladybird pin with a gold leaf?
The Pestalozzi Children’s Village Trust had encouraged supporters to sell the regular ladybird pins in their local communities to raise much-needed funds for the charity. If a supporter sold a large number of pins they would receive a special version of the emblem (backed with a gold leaf) in appreciation of their achievement. “I remember selling over 100 and still have the ladybird pin with the gold leaf which I received in recognition of my effforts!” Sue said.
But Sue’s involvement became more to her that just selling the pins: “I have much to thank the ladybird fundraising initiative for. It awoke in me an awareness of life in other countries, a lifelong interest in human rights and showed me that everybody can make a difference, however small.”
Sue has now generously gifted her special pin to the Early Pestalozzi Children Project’s archive. It will be carefully stored with all the other precious material that is being collected.
We offer Sue our double thanks: for donating the pin – but especially for her efforts in fund-raising that helped make such a difference in our lives.
Does anyone in your family remember supporting Pestalozzi in the late 1950s/early 1960s?