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Memorial shows devastation Blitz brought to community

For three nights in 1941 the bombs fell on Swansea and by the time the terrifying Luftwaffe raids were over 230 people had been killed and more than 400 were injured.

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No one who lived through the three night Blitz of February 19 to 21 would ever forget it.

For those born after World War Two it is almost impossible to imagine the death and destruction the Nazi planes brought to Swansea.

In a quiet residential street in Mayhill there is a memorial to those from Townhill and Mayhill who lost their lives in the raids.

Eighty three people are commemorated on the stonework in the garden of Topic House - many surnames appear more than once indicating families suffered multiple losses.

Topic House is an information centre for older people that has been running at Teilo Crescent for almost 20 years.

It is a fitting location as several homes on the street and surrounding areas took direct hits during the Blitz.

Terry O'Riley is chairman of the voluntary management committee that runs the centre which offers a wide range of activities for older people who are lonely and seeking friendship.

He said: "When Topic House first opened in 2000 a lot of work went into creating the community garden.

"Our service users then thought it would be a suitable location for a memorial and a local stone mason offered to create it without any charge.

"If you look at the long list of names on it then it shows the dreadful toll the Blitz took on Swansea and the number of casualties from Mayhill and Townhill.

"Although there are fewer and fewer people left in the community that remember the Blitz then it is not something we will forget."

Every year around Remembrance Sunday a short service is held in the garden and volunteers and service users staged a special event when Swansea commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Blitz in 2016.

Old photos taken following the bombing show a number of buildings on Teilo Crescent had been reduced to rubble.

Mr O'Riley said it was fitting that Topic House was on the street and contributed to the wellbeing of older people in the area.

He added: "Our main purpose at Topic House is to provide somewhere warm and welcoming for older people who are feeling lonely or isolated. We also provide support and advice.

"Swansea Council owns the building but it is entirely volunteer-run and I think that shows community spirit is still very strong here.

"There is a range of activities every week day including for people with Alzheimer's on Mondays and Dementia on Wednesdays to give their families or carers some respite.

"Elderly people come from across Swansea as in some cases we are able to provide subsidised transport.

"People are more than welcome to pop in and see what is on offer and whether there is something for them."

Councillor Mark Child, Swansea Council's Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing said: "Loneliness, especially among older people after they've lost a loved one, for example, can be the starting point for a slow decline into not going out of the house, depression, anxiety and an inability to look after themselves.

"The volunteers at Topic House provide a warm and friendly welcome and there is lots going on there so I would encourage people to pop in and find out about the service if they are a relative may benefit."

Call Topic House for more information on 01792 642237 or email topichouse30@outlook.com

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