Sir Ronald's nostalgia trip

October 19, 2011
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Sir Ronald Cohen (right) reminisces with Professor Bernie Cohen at the House of Lords reunion for members of the inaugural brigade Israel tour

Sir Ronald Cohen (right) reminisces with Professor Bernie Cohen at the House of Lords reunion for members of the inaugural brigade Israel tour

The 10 JLGB members selected to join the first brigade tour to Israel in 1962 included 16-year-old Ronnie Cohen, today better known as financier Sir Ronald Cohen. And Sir Ronald joined five other tour members at a reunion hosted by Lord Janner at the House of Lords.

Sir Ronald was 11 when his family was exiled from Egypt. Shortly after arriving in England, he joined his local JLGB group in Finchley and, like others on that Israel trip, was one of the first Duke of Edinburgh gold award recipients.

He recalled that the tour "made a great impression on me and I determined that I would move to Israel. I shared my thoughts with the officer from Gadna [Israeli Army youth wing] who accompanied us, who told me that Israel had enough problems with immigrants at that time and that I should get an education and a career first and then come back later. And that is what I have basically done."

Others at the reception included Liverpudlian doctor Paul Bracey, who shot 8mm film during the tour and Barnet marketing consultant Paul Newland, the official tour diarist. Their records have been digitised and added to a commemorative website assembled by fellow participants Derek Posner and Glaswegian professor Bernie Cohen. Other tour members have contributed photos and their impressions of the impact it made on their lives.

The young Ronnie Cohen in Israel

The young Ronnie Cohen in Israel

Dr Bracey's daughters, Natalie and Georgia, have both participated in JLGB Adventure Israel tours.

Now in the fashion trade, Geoff Solomons recalled being "so proud" to represent the brigade on the inaugural trip.

"I will never forget JLGB, the years I spent in Manchester with the silver band and the bugle band in Golders Green, the trips to Deal [for camp]and, of course, that very special trip to Israel."

    Last updated: 12:29pm, October 19 2011