A  VISIT by a concentration camp survivor and reunions for former pupils feature in today's focus on a Furness secondary school.

The Mail, on Thursday, January 20 in 2000, noted: "A Jewish survivor of the Holocaust has taught Furness children a very important lesson about intolerance and injustice.

"Almost 150 pupils at Dowdales School in Dalton listened intently as a man, known only as Mayer to protect his address, gave them a first-hand account of his experiences in Nazi labour and concentration camps during the Second World War.

"Mayer, who survived the notorious Auschwitz and looked camp doctor Joseph Mengele in the eye, transfixed pupils with his accounts of surviving Hitler's Final Solution."

The 73-year-old visited Dalton at the invitation of Dowdales history teacher Anne Fisher.

He said: "It has been very fulfilling and it means so much to me.

"The response of the staff and the pupils has been tremendous."

Mayer had been in nine camps from the age of 13 before being liberated by the advancing Russian army in May 1945 - aged 18 and weighing under four stone.

He said: "When we were liberated we were flown to Carlisle from Prague and taken to a camp at White Cross Bay at Windermere.

"I'll never forget it. I had gone from hell to heaven."

Teacher Mrs Fisher said: "It's much esier for the children to relate to a real person rather than films or pictures.

"They were all very impressed by Mayer and have experienced a part of history making them able to make more sense of the Holocaust and I can't think of anything more important."

There have been plenty of opportunities for former pupils to hold reunions and there were two in 2003.

In March there was a reunion of those who were at Dowdales from 1960 to 1966.

Among those at the event at the Ambrose Hotel, Barrow, were former prefects Betty Blowers (nee White), Lillian Dawson (nee Pennington) and Linda Satterthwaite (nee Taylor).

In June 2003, it was time for the class of 1973, which met at the Wellington pub in Dalton.

The event raised £120 for St Mary’s Hospice and ex-pupils travelled from Belgium, Potters Bar, St Albans, Preston, Bolton and Shropshire.