Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines to tell her fascinating life story

Posted on - 31st August, 2017 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - City Centre, History, Preston City Centre, Preston Minster, Things to Do in and around Preston, What's On in Preston

The Preston Historical Society is delighted to announce that in September, they will be hosting a most fascinating talk which will be presented by Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines. This talk, with the title ‘The Last Train to Tomorrow’, will be held in the Preston Minster, and will start off the new season for the society.


Lady Milena was born in Czechoslovakia in 1929. Her father was recommended to leave Czechoslovakia the day before the Nazis invaded because he was both Jewish and a supporter of an anti-Nazi author. He was able to escape but left his wife and children behind. When she was nine years old, Lady Milena and her younger sister Eva were able to leave Prague on a special train, arranged by Nicholas Winton who saved 669 children in this way. Lady Milena and her sister were cared for by a local family until their mother was able to arrive one year later, having escaped via Norway. The family were thus all reunited.


In 2015, Lady Milena was honoured with an ‘Appointment of Honary Freeman of the City of Preston’ award from former mayor of Preston, Nicholas Pomfret.

David Hindle, president of the Preston Historical Society spoke fondly of Lady Milena when he remarked: “I have been honoured to know Milena for many years. Her personal charisma, enthusiasm and magnetic personality is infectious and she has gained many friends in Preston and indeed all over the country.

“We are in for a real treat with the story of how she escaped from Prague as a child evacuee, on the Kindertransport in May, 1939, a few months before war broke out on the 1st September, 1939.

“Milena had several meetings with her saviour the late Sir Nicholas Winton and has regularly appeared on television including that famous episode of That’s Life.

“Lady Milena Grenfell Baines has done so much for Preston and is a fund raiser and patron of the Royal Liverpool Philarmonic Orchestra who regularly visit Preston”.

Not surprisingly Milena was honoured by the Queen with an MBE in 2016 for services to music and I am really looking forward to her talk.

Aidan Turner-Bishop, Blue Plaque Coordinator for the Preston Historical Society, said: “Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines is a well-known public figure in Preston. The story of her arrival in England, with her sister Eva, as a kindertransport child refugee – she was then Milena Fleischmann – from Prague in May 1939 is moving and very touching.

“She was one of the Jewish-heritage children who Sir Nicholas Winton helped to leave before the Nazis occupied and dismembered Czechoslovakia. We know what happened to those who remained.

“An individual story of those awful times is somehow more affecting than any television history film about Nazis. The kindertransport rescues remind us of the agony of parents who let their children escape, the bravery and resilience of the poor children, and the foresight and courage of Nicholas Winton and his helpers.

“In a world of cruel forced migration they may give us pause for thought about some of our current attitudes to child refugees.Lady Milena’s story is history from a direct, personal source. This is how it was”.

The following video is from part of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust: Lady Milena Grenfell-Baines’s speech. She speaks about her journey of escape: travelling to the UK with the help of Sir Nicholas Winton.

You can listen to Lady Milena’s story in person during the Preston Historical Society meeting on Monday 4 September 2017 at 7.15pm.
Venue: Preston Minster, Church Street, Preston. PR1 3BT

To join the Preston Historical Society, the subscription fee is £12.50 per season
Or you can attend as a visitor for £3.00 per person.

For more information, visit the Preston Historical Society website, or their Facebook page
email or call 07504 262497 to contact Gill Lawson, the society secretary.

Will you attend the PHS meeting for Lady Milena’s fascinating story? Let us know in the comments below.

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