Flo­ral thanks from Aus­tralia

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Niki Ten­nant

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

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