SITE IS LOVED AROUND WORLD
Floral thanks from Australia
A gran who emigrated to Australia 45 years ago has sent a heartfelt thank you from ‘down under’ to the Rutherglen woman who keeps her and thousands of other Ruglonians around the globe in touch with their home town.
Gran-of-four Ann Webb is a regular visitor to the Auld Rutherglen Facebook page which is frequently updated by local historian Geraldine Baird and now has 10,500 followers scattered all over the world.
Not only do Geraldine’s posts and photographs help followers keep their finger on the pulse of goings on in their home town, they have helped to reunite a grateful Ann with a dear friend she went to primary school with 50 years ago and had been searching in vain to find.
And to tell Geraldine how much her efforts to keep thousands of people in touch mean, Ann nominated her for the Rutherglen Reformer’s Say it with Flowers competition.
Ann, nee Fleming, was born in 16 Mossgiel Place in Spittal in 1954.
She explained: “I had a wonderful childhood and have great memories of many happy hours there. I attended St Mark’s Primary School in Blairbeth and that is where I met my oldest friend in the world, Gina Jackson. We were five when we started school.
“Gina and I were in each other’s houses every day. She came on holiday with my mum and dad and me to Ireland many times. We were like sisters.
“Due to sad family circumstances, I had to go and live with my brother and his wife in East Kilbride when I was 12. That’s when Gina and I lost all contact. I tried for years to find her with no success.
“I have been home three times to see my sister and also try to find Gina. I went to the house she lived in, but no-one knew her or where the family went to.”
Ann, who emigrated to Sydney in 1973, even went to St Mark’s during a visit to Scotland to reminisce about the time she and Gina shared there.
“My sister tried to find out information for me, but still nothing,” continued 64-yearold Ann.
“Then, I found the website Auld Rutherglen to see if that would help after years of trying. Then, two years ago, I somehow came across Geraldine’s name and we began corresponding and it was through encouragement from Geraldine that I was able to find Gina.”
Through social media, Geraldine suggested Ann tried using her maiden name of Fleming in the search for her close childhood friend and to post other information that only Gina would recognise.
“So, after 50 years, we found each other!” said an elated Ann.
“We spoke on the phone for two hours. Gina is in America and I am here in Australia. We are still filling in the gaps that kept us apart for so long. We missed out on each other’s first boyfriends, 21st birthdays, weddings, the birth of our children - and the list goes on.”
Ann hasn’t been back to Rutherglen - the place she will always call home - since her sister passed away in 2005 and hopes to return one day.
“I am married to Bill. My two amazing sons are married to beautiful, caring wives. Each of my sons has a son and a daughter, so I am a very proud mother and grandmother. My youngest son and his wife, then girlfriend, went to Scotland and visited Rutherglen.
“He said he knew exactly where he was because I had told him in so much detail about the place. You can take the girl out of Rutherglen, but you cannae take Rutherglen out of the girl!”
In nominating Geraldine for a bouquet from luxury florist Stems of Burnside, Ann told The Reformer: “It would be a wonderful thing on behalf of all of us around the world that she has brought together, for her to be given a wee thank you from The Reformer, which I used to read with my granny.
“I really would love to see Geraldine’s face when she receives the flowers. I don’t think she realises how much she means to us ex-pats.”
We agreed that Geraldine richly deserved the beautiful bouquet, which was expertly created for her by Stems’ owner and talented florist, Janet Freeman.
We called at her home in Caledonia Avenue to hand them over and pass on best wishes from her worldwide Auld Rutherglen family.
“I genuinely feel blessed to know so many amazing, good people through the Auld Rutherglen page,” said Geraldine, who became heavily involved two years ago in the page that was set up by local man Jim Campbell.
Geraldine added: “When my husband, Stuart, passed away in August I got flowers from all over the world from people I know only through this Facebook page, but have never met.
“I have experienced so much kindess, so much support and I really am delighted to get this acknowledgment.”
Loved the world over A grateful Geraldine receives her bouquet