Childhood friends reunited for first time in 45 years

GREAT BLAKENHAM: They grew up next door to each other and formed a special bond... one that will never be roken. And now, more than 50 years later, they have been reunited for the first time in 45 years.

Janice Robbie (nee Wright), Linda Rose (nee Wright), Janet Read (nee Game), Alvina King (nee Smith), Rita Austin (nee Smith), Veronica Hnatiw (nee Smith), Valerie Palmer (nee Jaye), and Gloria Birt (nee Flack) met at the home of Sandra Green (nee Jaye) to catch up and relive their idyllic childhoods.

As children the nine women lived next to each other in six houses numbered seven to 12, in what was originally called Churchfields, in Great Blakenham, now Chalk Hill Lane.

Mrs Green, a teacher at Finborough School, near Stowmarket, organised the reunion at home in Palgrave, near Diss, at the weekend, after discovering an old photo of them all as girls.

The 60-year-old said: “It’s fantastic. I suppose it was just a matter of getting everyone together and making the effort to do it. I had to contact everybody, but it was not that difficult because everyone still has somebody living in the area.

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“We would all play together under the direction of Alvina, who was the eldest. She organised games, hikes etc and took us all out for the day. We used to go through the fields building houses and dens without a second thought.

“We would go out from 10am and come back at five or six in the evening and no one even thought about it. It was just like an extended family and we were all like sisters.” The girls used to be supervised by Alvina, who was 12 when they started going out together. The youngest was Veronica, five at the time.

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Mrs Robbie, also 60 - who now lives in Nottingham, said: “It is just so emotional to see everybody’s faces. I haven’t seen some of these girls since their 20s. We had wonderful times in the lane.”

Mrs Hnatiw, who lives in Bristol, said: “This is lovely. I’ve bumped into one or two of the girls, but some I haven’t seen for a number of years. I think we all look the same, just a little bit older.”

n Do you have a reunion you would like to tell us about? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324790.

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