Thursday was a very special day in the Austin and Cross family history when matriarch Blanche was reunited with her flower girl after a gap of 60 years.
Margaret Daly (formerly Brown), pictured as a four-year-old in the black and white picture in this feature, surprised the life out of Blanche Cross, who arrived at her daughter Sharon’s McNaul Park home in Kilfennan for dinner on Thursday, oblivious to the fact that Margaret had travelled from Australia to see her.
It must have been near torture for Sharon to keep a lid on the surprise, but it was worth it when she saw the look on her mother’s face.
“My cousin Irene Colhoun in Lisburn went out to Australia to bring Margaret back,” said Sharon.
“Margaret’s husband Sean had died a year back and we told mum that Margaret was coming to see us, but did not tell her when. Mum had gone to the hairdressers as normal on Thursday and then she came to me for dinner and Margaret was already there waiting.
“You should have heard the squeals and roars of her when she was Margaret. That was followed by tears and hugs and laughter. Margaret decided a year back that she would come to Northern Ireland, but it was not until Irene went to Australia and brought her back that we could do any proper planning. When Irene and Margaret got to Dublin Irene came home and Margaret hired a car and drove to Kerry with Sean’s ashes and there was a religious service and Sean’s ashes were buried. He was born there and had always said he wanted to be buried in Kerry, so it was an emotional trip home for Margaret and mummy was beside herself, she had a great time.”
After all the excitement, Margaret left the city on Friday destined for Bradford in England, where she is originally from and where she has brothers and sisters, whom she wanted to see.
However, Margaret will be returning to the city again for another week before flying back to Australia.
Sharon also revealed that Margaret, who has one child, but who fostered 25 young people, is also contemplating where her home will be in future; here, in England or Australia.
In the wedding photograph with Blanche and Margaret are, from left, Gordon Brown, the bride’s brother-in-law, who gave the bride away, the groom, Leonard Cross, the matron of honour was sister of the bride Iris Brown (formerly Crockett) and mother of the flower girl, and Robbie Crockett, the bride’s brother.