Published: 28/03/2015
ISBN: 9781784621711
Format: Paperback



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A Long Way from Home
by Una Chandler

Growing up in Barbados in humble surroundings as a devout Christian, Una was the oldest of ten children. Living in a small rural village with a simple school, church and local shop, life was poor but easy. Then, one day, a blue airmail letter arrived, addressed to Una’s mother. The letter brought a sense of adventure and changed Una’s life drastically – for the better. John Chandler, a Christian who had once worked with her mother, was writing to invite Una to come to England, get married and start a new life.

On her 17th birthday, Una left the West Indies to make her first journey to England, with 2 pounds for a new life in her pocket. Saying goodbye to her parents and other siblings, she arrived at Gatwick airport on 1st November 1961. There, she was greeted by a bright and beaming young man with a friendly smile – John. He and Una went on to have 20 years of happy marriage and 6 children.

Unfortunately, John developed lung cancer and passed away on 25th December 1982, leaving Una a widow at the age of 38. As life moved on and grief slowly faded, Una went back to adult education college and studied to become a Methodist Local Preacher – for eighteen years, she was the only female West Indian Lay Preacher on the Methodist Church Circuit for Reading and Silchester. She is the first female West Indian-born Chaplain at Reading Borough Council, where she also works as a volunteer.

This is her story, of courage, faith, determination, hard work and a sense of humour. Life is for living and A Long Way From Home is about making that journey.

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The Voice

Una's story takes us from the stark poverty of her childhood, through her courageous adventure to seek a new life in the UK, the desperate sadness of widowhood and bringing up her large family on her own, to the loved, respected and strong person she is now.

Una's words and the messages in her poetry, illustrate how, in the early days, she and her community had so little yet they just got on with life as best they could and helped one another through the bad times. Yet as the years passed and life improved materially, the support she deserved was not there when it was most needed. However, Una was resolved to make her mark on society, with God's help.

Her achievements show great courage, determination and unswerving faith.

by Hilary


I couldn't put this book down. From start to finish it had me smiling, laughing and crying.

A very honest and inspirational read that had me rooting for Una throughout her ups and downs.

If you're after a book that will leave you feeling hopeful and uplifted, this is a must read.

by Priscilla Ramjing


I read A Long Way from Home and found this book thoroughly enjoyable and could not put it down.

I found Una to be very open and honest about her experiences, she is a true inspiration. It made me remember the stories my parents told me about their experiences when they first came to this country and brought back a lot of memories for me.

Cassandra Stephenson

by Cassandra Stephenson


 

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