Wednesday, 6 May 2015
GUS BIALICK ON BRITAIN’S GREATEST GENERATION (FRIDAY 8TH MAY – BBC 9PM)
Education charity Intergen’s oldest volunteer, 101-year-old Gus Bialick, is appearing on a four-part BBC documentary entitled “Britain’s Greatest Generation”.
Set to be broadcast on Friday at 9pm on BBC2, the programme features the last living survivors who lived through or fought in World War Two.
Inspirational Gus, son of Jewish refugees, fought in the Allied Invasion of Sicily codenamed Operation Husky. He made a career as a tailor and is the first centenarian to take part in the Intergen programme, an innovative project which brings older people into primary and secondary schools to talk about their life experiences and share their skills.
Intergen was set up by Professor Norma Raynes, with the aim of breaking down intergenerational stereotypes and barriers between old and young and generating well-being in local communities. Norma set up Intergen in 2010 so schoolchildren could benefit from the knowledge and experience of older people, while older people could enjoy the interaction and social inclusion the project offers.
Gus signed up after he happened to sit next to one of the charity’s co-ordinators Maria Hall, on a park bench and was then invited in regularly to visit Morpeth Secondary School near his home in Wapping. Now he regularly speaks to children about his first-hand account of Zeppelin raids during the First World War, 1930s marches by the Fascist Blackshirts in the East End of London and his part in the Operation Husky campaign.
Norma is an advocate of building strong communities in which young and older people find opportunities to assist each other and nothing is wasted.
She said: “I decided to find ways to bring the generations together after doing research about older people, social exclusion and the quality of their lives. We have some fascinating volunteers who provide a wealth of living history to schoolchildren, while at the same time enjoying being a valued part of the community. Gus is an exceptional, yet modest man who has many incredible life stories which we’re privileged to share.”
For more information about Intergen or to arrange an interview with Norma Raynes or Gus Bialick, please contact me at @margaretmcdpr