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After graduating from Birmingham University in Economic and Social History Jane spent some 30 years as an advocate for marginalised groups including the homeless, people with disabilities and mental health problems and latterly refugees. She had always loved writing but it wasn’t until 2010, when she finished working full time, that she could become fully committed and undertook the MA in Creative Writing at Plymouth University. An historical novel set at the time of the Boer War ensued. On discussion with Pen and Sword this became the basis for an historically researched book “Tracing Your Boer War Ancestors: Soldiers of a Forgotten War”. The book was published in 2016 and kindled interest in a subject which had been much overlooked.


The present book “Seeking Sanctuary, a History of Refugees in Britain” has been inspired by the work Jane undertook with refugees and asylum seekers in Plymouth as well as a personal discovery. It was only after her mother’s death in 2004 that she delved into her grandmother’s history and found that she had been one of the 250,000 Belgian refugees who fled here when the German army over ran their country in 1914. Uncovering her grandmother’s history meant learning about the fascinating story of those thousands of refugees who sought sanctuary here in the First World War.