After more than 60 years two Welsh friends have been re-united thanks to a chance meeting with one of Unity Community Transport’s volunteer drivers. Eirian Davies and Eirian Roberts lost touch in their 20s after leaving Liverpool University back in 1957/58.
Volunteer driver Jackie Grey (65) was asked to take a group of U3A passengers from Romsey to Northington Grange and was pleased to be invited to go on their private tour of the house and have lunch afterwards. It was there she happened to be sitting close to Eirian, now Hannan, and heard her name mentioned;
“Did you come from Wales originally?” she asked.
“Oh yes, I’m from Abergele,” said Eirian (87).
“What a strange co-incidence, I have a friend called Eirian and she came from Abergele as well.”
“I had a friend called Eirian in Abergele too, but she moved to Canada,” Eirian added.
“My friend Eirian did too,” said Jackie and they both laughed at the remote possibility they were talking about the same person.
That night she wrote to Eirian, now Jones (82) who has lived in Calgary since 1959, with information about the strange meeting. A reply came back within hours.
“Yes, I remember Eirian (nee Roberts) we used to go to Welsh Chapel in Princess Avenue, Liverpool, together and she lived in a flat with a lady called Llinos. If this matches – I would love to talk to her and would like her telephone number if she is agreeable.”
Jackie got on the phone to Eirian Hannan, in Romsey, who was both amazed and thrilled find the details fit. Email addresses and telephone numbers were exchanged and the two were soon able to have a chat on the phone.
Just a couple of weeks later Eirian Jones and her husband Peter decided to come to the UK to see friends and family for the first time since the Covid pandemic. First stop on their way from Gatwick to Torquay was an overnight stay with Jackie as usual in Goodworth Clatford.. That evening her husband David was due to go to choir practice with the Romsey Male Voice Choir in Romsey so Eirian and Peter went too. While the men went off to sing the two Eirians were re-united and shared a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
“It was lovely to meet up again and catch up on what we’d been doing for some of those 60+ years,” said Eirian Jones, who found that thinking of her friend immediately put her brain into Welsh speaking mode.
Eirian Hannan could only speak Welsh when she went to Abergele Grammar School. “I met Eirian when I started teaching in Liverpool,” she said. “I well remember times we spent together there and the sadness when she and her friend Kay decided to leave for Canada.
“We lost touch, but thanks to meeting Jackie (for the first time on a bus trip), it was wonderful to meet Eirian (Jones) again after over 60 years. We will now keep in touch!”
Jackie, who has been a volunteer driver for three years, said, “Driving for Unity has always been an absolute pleasure for me. The jobs are so varied and I get to meet so many interesting people but I never expected such excitement. It was wonderful to re-unite the two friends and be a part of their reunion.