Two childhood friends who last saw each other in 1951 have been reunited at a care home after more than 70 YEARS apart.
Audrey Sishton and Margaret Moore, both 86, were best of pals at Belt Road School for Girls in Cannock, Staffs., during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
But the pair went their separate ways after finishing school before going on to marry and raise their own families.
Despite both still continuing to live in the same area, Audrey and Margaret last saw each other in 1951 when they were both 15-years-old.
And now the old school friends have been reunited after more than seven decades apart after Audrey moved into Littleton Lodge care home in Hednesford, Staffs.
Audrey temporarily moved in to the residential facility while her property was undergoing repair work and immediately recgonised her old classmate.
The pair quickly rekindled their friendship and reminisced about their time at the school together shortly after the end of the Second World War.
Staff even laid on a special vintage afternoon tea so Audrey and Margaret could catch-up properly over a cuppa, sandwiches, fruit cake and scones.
Mum-of-one Audrey, who has lived alone since the death of her husband Harold in 1989, said: “It was an incredible coincidence really.
“I’m disabled and had to move into the care home for five weeks while works were being done on my home.
“When I arrived at the care home, I recognised her straight away. As soon as I said my name she remembered me too.
“I left school at 15 and went straight into shop work so it was many years ago that we last saw each other.
“We lived in the same area but I had never even seen her around the town for 71 years.
“But, I knew her face straight away. She is exactly the same except for the grey hair.
“It was lovely to bump into Margaret again and we had some fascinating chats, remembering what we had got up to at school and filling each other in on the rest of our lives.
“I do remember that at school Margaret was definitely the cheeky one.”
Both women were born in 1936, three years before the outbreak of World War Two.
Their primary years were coloured by the war and although it was over by the time they started secondary school in 1947, food rationing was still a part of everyday life.
Margaret, who has four children and seven grandchildren, has been living at the luxury care home since June 2021.
The retired factory worker said: “It was a real surprise when Audrey turned up at Littleton Lodge.
“I was here and Audrey just walked in. We recognised each other straight away.
“Audrey said ‘I recognise you from years ago’.
“She hadn’t got any photographs, but she remembered my name.
“We were at the same school and the same class at Belt Road School and we had a lot of fun talking about our school days.”
Margaret’s son, Steve Moore, 59, added: “My mum was born in 1936. She was actually born within view of the care home she is in at the moment.
“She went to the girls school in Belt Road – the same school and class as Audrey.
“She left there and went to work for the Swallow raincoats company in Hednesford where she pressed studs on raincoats.
“She did that job until the early 1960s when she started to have children.
“Then she raised four children and had 30 years off work before returning to work at a biscuit factory in Uttoxeter.
“She retired at 65 to spend more time with her husband Bob. He died in 2004 after 45 years of marriage.
“Together, they had four children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
“But Audrey and Margaret having this chance reunion at this care home is an amazing story.
“It has totally taken my mum by surprise.”
Home manager Rachel Ellis said: “It was heart-warming to see these two lovely ladies catching up after so long. After 71 years, they had much to talk about.
“It was certainly a shock to us all when Audrey revealed that Margaret was a bit cheeky at school.
“During her time at Littleton Lodge, she has been nothing but the picture of politeness.”