Nottingham

Croatia trek marks grandad's WW2 escape from Nazis

Sam and Chris Ogrizovic Image copyright Papa's Journey
Image caption Sam and Chris Ogrizovic set off from Nottinghamshire on Friday

Two cousins have set off on a 1,100-mile (1,770km) trek in honour of their late grandfather who fled Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia as a teenager.

Sam and Chris Ogrizovic's grandfather Nicola escaped from Brlog in Croatia aged 14 as it came under siege.

He eventually settled in Ravenshead, Nottinghamshire, after a five-year journey which saw him taken prisoner.

The cousins, who set off from the village on Friday, are travelling the route he took in reverse.

'Buzzing'

They are raising money for the Alzheimer's Society.

Mr Ogrizovic, known as Nick, died from Alzheimer's last year, aged 86.

He had seen his father shot dead in a revenge attack by Nazi soldiers in Brlog.

He fled the village in 1942, leaving behind his mother and two sisters.

Image copyright Provided by family
Image caption Sam and Chris Ogrizovic (right) decided to take on the challenge at their grandfather's funeral last year

It took him five years to make his way to Nottinghamshire, having been captured and imprisoned in Italy, where he was saved by British soldiers and brought to the UK.

Under the name Papa's Journey, the cousins will travel along the route taken by their grandfather, but in the opposite direction.

They will either walk or hitchhike, or find other ways of travelling free of charge. They have just £20 to spend.

The pair, who have already raised more than £3,000, plan to arrive in Brlog in eight days.

The cousins said they were undertaking the challenge to raise awareness of Alzheimer's and to remember a "great man whose stories will remain in the family for generations to come".

Sam Ogrizovic, 30, from Hoveringham, Nottinghamshire, said: "We've had our ups and downs on the first day.

"When we got a few things going our way we were buzzing and when you get a few 'noes' from people it is soul-destroying.

"We are up against the clock now and trying to focus on the positives."

His cousin Chris, from Birmingham, is the son of former Coventry City goalkeeper Steve.

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