TWO SURVIVORS of the atom bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 met representatives of Saddleworth Peace Group during a visit to Oldham and Manchester.
Mrs Reika Yamada and Mrs Midori Yamada, now in their 80s, were hosted at a civic reception attended by the Mayor of Oldham, Councillor Derek Heffernan, the Youth Mayor, T-Jay Turner, and Peace Group members.
The ladies visited the borough’s award-winning Green Flag Alexandra Park, where they were given a guided tour by the Council’s Head of Environmental Management, Glenn Dale.
In return, the pensioners, known as Hibakusha (or bomb affected people), gifted seeds of the Gingko tree from the city of Hiroshima to the borough.
Six Gingko trees, growing less than two kilometres from the blast site, survived against the odds and were seen as symbols of hope for the country.
The ladies helped plant the seeds, which will be nurtured at Alexandra Park and once ready to plant will be presented to schools in the borough that have signed the Pledge to Peace.
During their visit, Reika and Midori also re-lived their ordeals of 72 years earlier at a sell-out public meeting at the People’s History Museum in Manchester.
They were presented with personal gifts of pens and paperweights and also a corporate gift of an Oldham coat-of-arms shield to take back to their hometown.
In return, the Peace Group was honoured to receive a gift of many thousands of paper cranes folded by people in Hiroshima, which will also be distributed to peace schools.