Orchard is right up Sam's street


The oldest and longest-standing member of Welwyn Garden City Synagogue, 97-year-old Sam Ostro, has had a 20-tree apple orchard named after him.

Sam’s Orchard is located at the corner of the road where the gardening enthusiast has lived for the past 56 years. It is part of a scheme introduced by Welwyn-Hatfield Council to create small orchards in open spaces.

Having recently suffered a broken collarbone, there was concern that Mr Ostro would not be present at the opening ceremony, attended by fellow shul members, local councillors and pupils from the nearby Stanborough School who are undertaking maintenance of the orchard. “But being the intrepid character he is, Sam insisted on being there, much to the delight of everyone present,” reported the synagogue’s Reynold Rosenberg.

Mr Ostro was one of 30 Jewish youngsters rescued from Nazi Germany in 1938 by the local Quakers and brought to Welwyn, where they were found both homes and work — in his case, at the De Havilland factory (later British Aerospace) in nearby Hatfield, where he spent his entire working life.

At the outbreak of war, Mr Ostro and his fellow refugees, together with the smattering of Jews who lived in the area at the time, became the nucleus of the Welwyn congregation. Until he became too infirm, he was not just a regular weekly worshipper but also its unofficial caretaker and gardener.

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