A PLAQUE remembering Basque children who sought refuge in Newport from the Spanish Civil War was unveiled in Caerleon yesterday.

The deputy mayor of Newport, Cllr Phil Hourahine, officially unveiled the plaque, provided by the council, which commemorates the arrival of the 56 youngsters in 1937.

Many of them were housed in Pendragon House, which is where the plaque is fixed.

The leader of Newport City Council, Cllr Debbie Wilcox, opened the event and said: “I’m delighted to be here today to help commemorate a very special chapter in Caerleon’s history.

“The children must have been traumatised by having to leave their families at a time of war, but they were taken to people’s hearts and settled into their new home, even going to schools in Newport.

“There are parallels with today when children from other war-torn countries are arriving here.

“I hope, they will also find the safe and caring refuge that those children did when they came to Caerleon more than 80 years ago.”

Representatives of the Association for the UK Basque Children, and Caerleon Civic Society, were also present.

The event was organised by Newport council’s cabinet member for education and skills, Cllr Gail Giles, who said: “I would like to thank everyone who was involved in this very special occasion and those who contributed towards the new plaque commemorating this remarkable episode in Caerleon’s history.

“We can be proud of the welcome these children were given by the people of Caerleon, and further afield.

“I would especially like to pay tribute to Maria Fernandez, the warden who made sure they received a high standard of care and education during their time here.”