Statue for 'British Schindler' Sir Nicholas Winton

image captionThe statue depicts Sir Nicholas reading a book containing images of the children he saved

A statue has been unveiled to honour the man dubbed the "British Schindler" for his work saving Jewish children from Nazi invasion.

Sir Nicholas Winton was 29 when he smuggled 669 boys and girls, destined for concentration camps, out of Czechoslovakia in 1939.

The 101-year-old attended the service earlier at Maidenhead railway station in front of a crowd of onlookers.

The piece, forming part of a bench, is on the station's platform three.

It was unveiled by Maidenhead MP Theresa May.

Sir Nicholas, of Pinkneys Green, was joined by members of the Maidenhead Rotary Club, where he is also a member.

Scrapbook found

A motion was unanimously passed to install the £20,000 statue, created by local sculptor Lydia Karpinska, by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Council last year.

It depicts Sir Nicholas relaxing on a park bench, reading a book which contains images of the children he saved and the trains used to evacuate them.

image captionSir Nicholas was just 29 at the time

Councillor Derek Wilson, who put forward the motion, called Sir Nicholas "a true hero".

He added: "He played a valuable contribution in evacuating these children at a time when it was extremely difficult.

"We should never forget the contribution of the members of our community that put their own lives at risk.

"He is extremely modest but I felt it was important that in Maidenhead we recognised his achievements."

Sir Nicholas kept quiet about his work for 50 years until his wife found a scrapbook.

Realising the danger that the imminent Nazi invasion posed, he worked to find British families willing to put up £50 to rescue the children and look after them until they were 17.

His efforts have been likened to the work of the world famous "saviour" of Jewish prisoners Oskar Schindler.

Sir Nicholas was knighted by the Queen in March 2003 and a year earlier was finally reunited with hundreds of the children he saved - including Labour peer Lord Dubbs and film director Karel Reisz.

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