Title ID 7052Collection ID985
Title[BBC News Programme] Biafra
CollectionOckenden Venture
Genre/TypeProfessionalTelevision companyInstitutionalNon-fictionNewsreel/News
ThemeWartime and Military
KeywordsCharities Children Domestic Gardens Family Travel Social Problems Wars
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionBBC Television
FormatBlack & White Silent
Duration4 min. 13 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A BBC news piece about refugees from Biafra, escaping civil war in Nigeria (1967-1970), and the support they receive in the UK.


Joyce Pearce, founder of Ockenden Venture, is seen speaking to an interviewer (no sound). Children and their parents arrive from Biafra at an airport in England. The adoptive parents of three Biafran [?] children are interviewed at home with their two other children. Older children play badminton in a garden of an Ockenden Venture home.

Contextual information

Ockenden Venture was founded in Woking, Surrey in 1951 by teachers Joyce Pearce OBE, Ruth Hicks and Margaret Dixon in aid of displaced Eastern European children after WW2. It aimed “to provide for their maintenance, clothing, education, recreation, health and general welfare.” Further houses in Haselmere and Donnigton Hall near Derby were soon acquired. Eight new houses were opened after World Refugee Year (1959-1960) increased charitable donations. Ockenden opened twenty five centres in response to the crisis in Vietnam, accepting the ‘boat people’ after the government decided to accept Vietnamese refugees fleeing after the invasion of China in 1979. Joyce Pearce died in 1985 after over thirty years of work. Ockenden International focuses its efforts on overseas projects.

Related resources


Ockenden International, Surrey History Centre (SHC Ref 7155)

Records include minutes, annual reports, correspondence, papers, personal files, photographs, documenting lives of staff and refugees at Woking, Haslemere and overseas in Asia, the Middle East and northern Africa.


Surrey History Centre

The website for the Surrey History Centre

Exploring Surrey’s Past

An online history of Ockenden international, previously Ockenden Venture, in text and photographs from Surrey History Centre archives. A grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) enabled the history of Ockenden International to be preserved. The charity’s archive held at Surrey History Centre has been catalogued and memories have been recorded.