Title ID 7054Collection ID985
Title[Pathé News Ockenden Venture] Suffer the Little Children
Date25 December 1958
CollectionOckenden Venture
Genre/TypeProfessionalFilm/Video companyInstitutionalNon-fictionNewsreel/News
ThemeWartime and Military
KeywordsBuildings Celebrations Children Charities Ethnic Groups Performing Arts
LocalDerby Woking Central London
RegionalDerbyshire Surrey Greater London
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionPathe News
FormatBlack & White Sound
Duration4 min. 42 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


A film profiling Ockenden Venture and its founder Joyce Pearce at Christmas 1958.


Title reads "English woman's care for refugee children is lesson in practical humanity." Music and commentary throughout. "Donnington Hall near Derby, famous in both world wars as detainment place for officer prisoners, is now given over to the care of refugee children." A total of thirty one boys from refugee camps live at Donnigton Hall, Poles, Estonians and Latvians all learning to speak and write English.

At Venture House in Woking, Surrey, another branch of Ockenden Venture, children make their beds. Joyce Pearce is seen having dinner with the Richard Todd and the children. Commentary explains that Ockenden was set up to rescue children from camps with their own money, "a passport for a brighter home." Scenes from refugee camps follow.

At Drury Lane, a band play in aid of refugees. The children watch a nativity play at Drury Lane Theatre at Christmas. They are given a party under the Christmas tree in Trafalger Square and the Crypt at St Martin in the Fields. The film closes with the line; "Yet these happy few might have lived on in the misery so lately theirs, if not for the compassion of the founder Joyce Pierce."

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.