AJEX and Abe are honoured at Stapely Care

TRIBUTE: David van Loen, Malcolm Turner and Rabbi Martin van den Bergh with the AJEX Lounge plaque

AN AJEX Lounge was dedicated in Stapely Care on Sunday with a plaque also unveiled in memory of the late Abe Drayer.

Merseyside AJEX chairman David van Loen unveiled the AJEX plaque before the large crowd assembled in the coffee lounge where Selma Drayer unveiled the plaque for her husband.

David thanked the local rabbonim and expressed his gratitude to “the ladies who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes and kept the Merseyside branch going”.

He added: “These ladies have been members of the committee for many years and have been the backbone of Merseyside AJEX.

“Without them Merseyside AJEX would have closed earlier.”

David explained that after the death of the previous chairman Mervin Kingston in October, 2014, “Abe and I became joint chairmen in order to keep the branch functioning for as long as we could”.

David stated that he had been honoured and privileged to serve Merseyside AJEX for 13 years since he moved to Liverpool from London.

He explained that the Merseyside branch of AJEX will continue, but under AJEX headquarters and will be called Central Branch Merseyside.

Following the unveiling of the plaque by Selma, David expressed his gratitude to Abe, who undertook much work for AJEX and the Liverpool Jewish community.

Alderman Edwin Clein, Merseyside Jewish Representative Council president, said how proud he was to be associated with — and to be a member of — AJEX.

He said that with the Merseyside branch closing “it was the end of an era”.

On behalf of the members of the AJEX, Malcolm Turner explained that he joined AJEX “when I came out of the army in 1957”.

Malcolm claimed that “old soldiers never die they just fade away... and there is still a lot of work for AJEX to be doing”.

Councillor Barry Kushner, a cousin of Abe Drayer, said: “It is sad to see what has happened to Merseyside AJEX.”

On a happier note, he proudly told the large crowd that in recent years, Abe had been made a Citizen of Honour of the City of Liverpool by the council.

Philip Ettinger, Stapely Care trustee, said the home was privileged to be involved with AJEX and was honoured that there was now an AJEX lounge.

Philip also noted that Selma’s late brother, Rev Stanley Cohen, had been a resident of Stapely Care.

Rabbi Martin van den Bergh recited the memorial prayer for all Jewish ex-servicemen and women who died during past wars and for Abe.

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