Appeal for Gladys Aylward information

Dear Editor, I am currently researching the story of the late missionary to China, Miss Gladys Aylward. She became a household name in the 1960’s with the Hollywood film The Inn of the Sixth Happiness based on her life and which starred Ingrid Bergman as Gladys bringing 100 orphans over the Shanxi mountains to safety in Xian via the Yellow River, during the Sino-Japanese war.

Gladys later came back to Englandfor a time and told her story of how she, as a simple parlour maid, made her way to China on the Trans-Siberian Railway alone to help run an inn for muleteers in the remote mountainous village of Yangcheng.

Her story captured the nation, especially as she was rejected by the China Inland Mission for not being educated enough and was deemed “unqualified”.

I was fortunate enough in 2006 and 2007 to visit Yangcheng in mainland China and pay respects at her grave in Taiwan, where she ran an orphanage until her death in 1970 and was encouraged to discover just how many people still remember the story of ‘the small woman across the world’ (as the title of the best-selling book about her exploits described her).

I am making an appeal to anyone who may have memories of Gladys talking at their church or school or other event during the time that she was back in the British Isles to share any information they might have about this largely unrecorded part of her life.

She travelled widely across England, Scotland, Wales and parts of Ireland, to share her experiences of how God called her to China and she was an inspiration to countless individuals and congregations alike.

I can be reached via theaddress below or on 00442891 857583 or mobile 004477 1947 1503 and/or e-mail

Yours etc.,

Colin Nevin,

45c Rathgill Park,

Bangor, Co. Down, BT19 7TQ.