AN EXHIBITION telling the story of a hospital at the centre of a unique Polish community in a Wrexham village has been a great success.

'Penley Hospital: The Story of a Polish Community in Wales', tells the story of the Polish community that flourished in the village for many years after it first opened in 1946.

Eighty years ago the Wehrmacht and the Red Army swept across the borders of Poland setting in motion a train of events that would lead to the establishment of three Polish hospitals in the Welsh countryside near Wrexham, in the village of Penley and the grounds of two country houses, Iscoyd Park and Llannerch Panna.

These hospitals were unique, being staffed by Polish medics and nurses whose job was to care for the thousands of Polish servicemen and service women displaced from their homes, battle worn and weary, and now living in post-war Britain. The hospitals became the focal point of a Polish community whose story is told in the exhibition.

The exhibition, was created with the help of former residents of Penley Hospital camp.

Videographer Andrzei Stanislaw took films at the camp and in a section called 'Polish Echoes' visitors can put headphones on and hear about life in the camp from the people who lived and worked there, through Andrzei's recordings.

Since the exhibition opened, many people have visited the museum to share their own fond memories and stories of the hospital community from years gone by.

To celebrate this, a special event is being planned at the museum on May 11 to reunite the ‘Penley Poles’, their families and members of the Polish Hospital community.

Jonathan Gammond, of Wrexham Museum said: “The museum has been very lucky that during the preparation of the exhibition, Alan Daulby was able to interview a few of the former staff and residents of Penley Hospital as their first-hand experience of living and working at the hospital provides visitors with an insight into daily life in this unique Polish émigré community.

"We would especially like to thank Claire Lewis and Hilda Turton for their help in recruiting people to be interviewed.

“Alan has brought his many years of experience working for local and national radio stations to this project, both in interviewing, recording and editing these valuable oral histories.

"He is actually organising two further interviews which we hope to share at the reunion on May 11, if they can be completed in time.

“The title Polish Echoes was inspired by a band of a similar name that used to play at the camp in the 1950s.”