Friends Reunited at Crispin Court
“Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.”
It’s not every day you meet your best friend from 70 years ago, but our residents are full of surprises.
Eileen Gill came into Crispin Court Care Home for a short respite stay in January. Whilst here, she thought she recognised one of our permanent residents, Nora Boardman. After a short chat, and to our great surprise, it was quickly established that the pair had been best friends whilst growing up in Eccleshall some 70 years ago and had not seen each other since!
The two had sadly lost touch, not having Facebook or emails back then, and despite Nora having tried to find Eileen for a number of years, she had given up hope of seeing her friend again. However, after this chance meeting at Crispin Court, the two childhood friends have been reunited and have now, once again, become inseparable.
Becoming Best Friends
Nora and Eileen met through their parents, who were already friends in the local area. The girls both attended Holy Trinity School at Eccleshall and Sunday School at the local church and quickly became firm friends.
Here are the pair together, aged about 10 years old. The photo was taken at the steps at Fleetwood, Blackpool, around 1939. Nora’s mother took the photo, with Eileen on the left, next to her mother, and Nora on the right.
Day trips to the seaside by coach were the main way people could go on holiday and explore in the 1930s. As men were required to keep working, it was mostly women and children that went on the excursions. The owner of Jones’ sweet shop in Eccleshall arranged the popular trips that Eileen and Nora went on.
In 1939, Eileen’s father re-married and her family went to live on a farm and sadly the two girls lost touch. Nora believes that the trip to Blackpool must have been the last one that they went on together due to the outbreak of World War II and Eileen moving away.
What happened in their time apart?
This is Nora’s first school photograph, which was taken around 1936.
Nora left school at 14 to work in the munition’s factory in Swynerton, where she assembled fir fuses to hand grenades! She later got a job at 16MU RAF Stafford, where she met her future husband Bob who was serving in the RAF. They married in 1954, before Bob started his own lorry haulage business, delivering caravans, with Nora often accompanying him on his travels. One day, whilst in Ayr, Bob took ill and told Nora she would have to drive the lorry down to Bournemouth as they had a caravan to deliver. Despite never driving a lorry before, Nora was a quick learner and made the journey safely and on time. Following this, she took on her own lorry, also delivering caravans. Nora and Bob also had a great love of German Shepherd dogs, always having at least one in their family. They showed their dogs at the highest level, including at Crufts.
Eileen continued at school, before working on the family farm and getting married. She became a full-time housewife, raising three children, two girls and one boy. She always remained in the area where her parents had the farm.
Reunited At Last
Since being reunited, the two have spent plenty of time together reminiscing, drinking tea and discussing what’s changed in the world. They both particularly enjoy the musical activities we have at the home, including singers and our visiting choir (Eileen particularly loves any songs by Tom Jones or Elvis), and like to share a table during meal times at Crispin Court too.
Nora said “I feel lucky to have my best friend back in my life. It feels like nothing’s changed”. She continued, saying “I found her and now she ain’t going anywhere now!”
Eileen added “We’re best of friends… I can say that it’s the happiest I’ve been in months”.
Nora and Eileen’s story has now had viral success! The pair were interviewed by ITV News and their story has also been featured in The Times, the Daily Mail, the Mirror and the Metro Online.
They say that true friendship can last a lifetime. We would say that Eileen and Nora are definite proof of that!