A BIRTHDAY celebration turned into a 150 strong family reunion for one Garstang family.
Following the untimely death of eldest sister Eileen Mayor (nee Cragg) in 2007, her remaining nine siblings – Maurice, Eunice, Eric, John, Nancy, Thomas, Peter, Tony and Catherine – made plans for a family celebration in 2011 and it escalated into a reunion for 150 family members spanning five generations.
The original idea came at Eileen’s funeral, when it was noted that it had taken such a sad event to get the family all together. It was decided that the next family event would be an happier occasion.
The Cragg family have Garstang connections dating back over 90 years and decided on the Wyrebank venue in the town as the ideal place to hold a get together for relatives as the old Masonic Hall, which was on the site where the Wyrebank now stands, was where Eileen’s parents Peggy and Jim Cragg celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 1980.
Invitations were sent out a year in advance to relatives now living as far away as America and New Zealand to give family members a chance to prepare for the once-in-a-life time celebration, and this year was decided on as three of Eileen’s siblings celebrate their 80th, 70th and 60th birthdays in 2011,
For three of the New Zealand family members the reunion was their first time back in England for 24 years.
Ann Cragg, one of the organisers, said: “We have no more plans for any more get-togethers – it really was a once-in-a-lifetime event.”
A photo book was created from all the pictures taken on the night so the memories could be preserved.