A DELEGATION of officials from Norway have visited East Renfrewshire to mark 75 years since Neilston provided sanctuary to refugees fleeing the Nazis during the Second World War.

The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Treasurer of Sørøya, in the Municipality of Hasvik, made the visit to commemorate the anniversary of a mission in 1945, led by Norwegian Military. 

Services and the British Royal Navy, when 502 civilians were rescued.

Having arrived in Greenock from the Norwegian island of Sørøya, the refugees were taken to Neilston Camp, where they stayed until September that year.

The purpose of the visit was to express gratitude for the welcome provided to the refugees by people in East Renfrewshire.

The delegation made an emotional trip to the old camp in Kingston Park and exchanged civic gifts with East Renfrewshire Provost Jim Fletcher.

They also laid flowers at the grave where three of the civilian refugees – two children and an elderly lady – were buried whilst in Neilston.

Provost Fletcher said: “The officials were touched to be able to visit Neilston to see for themselves the village where so many of their residents called home during 1945.

“It was also clear they wanted to pass on their gratitude to the people of Neilston for the sanctuary which was provided, as even though so many years have passed, the warmth and welcome that was received is still greatly appreciated.”