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Veda and Merwin Almy Visit Holland, Scotland, and England

In April of this year Veda and I went on the Pilgrim John Howland Society tour to Holland, Scotland, and England. There were 45 members and spouses in the tour group. Highlight of the tour were the two days spent in Fenstanton and Henlow, the home towns of John and Elizabeth Howland, respectively, where after the church service and reception, the tour members were invited to the homes of the church members for lunch and afternoon tea. Many lasting friendships have been made over the years from these personalized visits to the English homes.

Veda had torn ligaments in one of her ankles and had to wear a brace during the tour. One of the other tour members had a wheelchair along on the bus and on many occasions Veda and this other person took turns where wheelchairs were necessary.

One of the stops on the tour was at Ombersley in Worcestershire, where Lord Sandys had invited the tour group to visit his home and see the portraits of his ancestor Archbishop Sandys and the Archbishop's children. The Archbishop was a benefactor of the early Pilgrims when he owned Scrooby Manor, the Pilgrims meeting place. Besides the portraits, Lord Sandys showed us his library which contained many treasured historical books. At the end of the visit, the wheelchair was brought back from the first trip to the bus for Veda's transportation and who pushed the wheelchair? -- Lord Sandys. So Veda had quite an honor being pushed by an English Lord.

A very special part of the Howland tour was when Fred Almey and his wife Joyce joined us in Henlow. To the left is a picture of the beautiful blue plaque that Fred gave to each member of the tour group. The plaques were made by a potter in Cardiff, Wales, to Fred's drawing and specifications.

Needless to say, these plaques, measuring about 5 inches in diameter, were eagerly accepted by the tour members. I understand that many wrote to Fred in Cardiff, Wales to thank him. Being with Fred and Joyce is always a happy reunion. Fred is undoubtedly related to us Almys in America, but I have been unable so far, because of the lack of English records in the period 1600 to 1750, to prove the connection.

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