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One hundred deciduous trees of mixed species were planted along newly restored trail on Friday 28th October 2022 in the village of Račiněves in memory of Sir Nicholas Winton and the 669 Jewish children from occupied Czechoslovakia he saved in 1939 from being transported to concentration camps by arranging for them to travel to the United Kingdom by train.
 
Organised by Rotary Club Prague International in partnership with the leading conservation foundation, Nadace Partnerství, the planting was attended by Sir Nicholas's son, Nick Winton together with other members of his family including and four surviving ‘children’ and their relatives.
 
Over 400 volunteers did the planting along the 550-meter footpath which is situated within sight of legendary Říp Hill, which is one of the Czech Republic’s most important national monuments.  Restored by the municipality of Račiněves, the pathway will provide valuable environmental benefits for the landscape, enabling water retention, attracting birdlife and preventing soil erosion.  
 
Dignitaries and supporters from around the world came to this small village in Central Bohemia, located just 30 kilometers north-east of Prague, including leaders of Czech Jewry and members of the diplomatic community including the Israeli ambassador to the Czech Republic. The award-winning Slovak film director Matej Mináč, who made a series of films about Sir Nicholas, including The Power of Good also participated in the planting event.
 
In recognition of the vital role that trains played in rescuing so many children, state railway operator, České dráhy, provided a special train from Prague to nearby Roudnice, with road transport to the site itself. 
 
Arranged under the auspices of the Czech Prime Minister, Petr Fiala came to the station on the morning of 28th October to see off the train and offer words of support.
 
After the planting, there was a short ceremony when a commemorative stone was unveiled accompanied by the choir from the Jewish Lauder School in Prague. 
 
A proud Rotarian, Sir Nicholas, who died in 2015 at the age of 106 was the first recipient of the Rotary International Humanitarian Award. There are more than 5,000 descendants of those he rescued and arranged to travel from Czechoslovakia for Britain in 1939.
Rotary Club Prague International raised the funds through its annual Cycling for Trees project, whereby some 20 or more dedicated cyclists are sponsored for the kilometers they ride which pays for the saplings and ongoing maintenance.
 
‘’We created a truly collaborative opportunity to honor one of the greatest-ever Rotarians and helping the environment through the active and practical participation of cycling and tree planting by our members and their family and friends’’, said our President Radka Rajská. ‘’We wanted to use this event to highlight the modern-day plight of refugees, and were pleased to be joined by some of the 30 Ukrainians who our Rotary is hosting in homes across Prague’’, she added.
 
 
You can see a few videos from televisions in Czechia at the links below:
 
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