Dorrith M Sim

Dorrith M. Sim Award

Dorrith Marianne Sim provided a welcoming smile to every new member of Ayr Writers’ Club. As a founder member she was keen to ensure that everyone had an opportunity to learn and to contribute to the club’s success. She supported aspiring writers with positive feedback and encouragement in their writing. Whether the piece was a winning competition manuscript or something written in haste at a workshop night, she made each writer feel that their work was enjoyable and important. Indeed, after she passed away, her daughter informed club members that such was her delight in some of the pieces produced that she had spirited them away and kept those that had particularly appealed to her, to read to friends and family.

Dorrith’s best known contribution to writing was the children’s book that she produced – ‘In My Pocket’, the true story of her journey to the UK as part of the Kindertransport. Born in Germany in 1931, she was the only child of Hans and Trude Oppenheim. Following Kristallnacht, the decision was made to send Dorrith to Scotland to escape the Nazi persecution. She was seven years old when she boarded the Kindertransport train that left her parents behind. That was the last time she saw them as they were sent first to Theresienstadt and then to Auschwitz. They were never heard of again.

Upon her arrival in the UK in 1939, she was fostered by an Edinburgh couple, Fred and Sophie Gallimore, who went on to have two daughters of their own, Rosalind and Elizabeth. The family briefly moved to Sao Paulo where Fred had secured a new position but Dorrith returned to Scotland to be reunited with her fiancé, Andrew Sim. They were married and in due course, she raised five children.

Dorrith felt that a purpose of her life was to inform others about the Holocaust and the persecution of the Jews. She was especially keen to ensure that children understood about the impact of racial hatred and she spent many hours talking to schools and adults from various groups, with readings from ‘In My Pocket’.

We who knew her at Ayr Writers’ Club, will always remember her kind smile and gentle manner. She sincerely cared about the club and in her will she left £200 to be used to support its writers. In 2013, the Committee voted to create the ‘Published Writer of the Year’ award to honour Dorrith’s legacy and to continue her work in encouraging new writing talent.

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