Ex-pats' intercontinental encounter

Vera Greaves and Joan Shackleton at the Idaho care home

Vera Greaves and Joan Shackleton at the Idaho care home

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

THE expression 'it's a small world' may well be part of the modern vocabulary but it can rarely be used more appropriately than to describe a Bradford ex-pat's intercontinental encounter.

Keith Briggs left West Yorkshire decades ago for a new life in the United States of America with his wife but recently they found themselves in conversation with an elderly woman at a care home in Idaho.

That resident explained that she originated from England but was dismissive when Mr Briggs asked which part of the country she had emigrated from, simply saying it was a small town he wouldn't recognise.

That turned out to be Shipley and he was able to surprise her by describing the bus route she would have taken on journeys from her former home into Bradford city centre.

Mr Briggs and his wife Joan moved to the US in 1957 and were sponsored for the move by a cousin living in Idaho.

Six decades later, that relative needed to move into an assisted living retirement home and that is where the encounter with the close to home stranger took place.

Mr Briggs said: "We were introduced to a lady resident there who also came from England.

"When I asked her where in England she was born she said I would not know of it. It was a small town called Shipley in Yorkshire in the north of England.

"I asked her if she caught the bus from Shipley to the nearby city of Bradford, would she use the bus that went through Windhill, Thackley, Idle, Five Lane Ends, Bolton Junction, down past Peel Park and into Foster Square.

"She looked at me in amazement. I then explained that my wife, Joan (formerly Joan Shackleton of Thackley) and I knew the area quite well having been born and raised there.

"She told us her maiden name was Vera Greaves and her father was the station master at Shipley for many years.

"She seems in good health and I wonder if there are any Greaves who might be related to her still living in the Shipley area who might want to contact her?"

Vera is a widow whose married name is Abbott, now living at a care home in Garden City, Idaho, US.

Comments (2)

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8:17am Mon 25 Aug 14

LeftLongAgo says...

I liked that. A nice Bradford story. The old lady would be shocked by what Bradford and Shipley had become. Best not to know. Happy memories instead.
I liked that. A nice Bradford story. The old lady would be shocked by what Bradford and Shipley had become. Best not to know. Happy memories instead. LeftLongAgo
  • Score: 3

3:01pm Mon 25 Aug 14

llos25 says...

Totally agree, the trolley bus would be a 42 or 40 I live in another country and on a recent visit to Bradford I was saddened to see what a slum it had become.
Totally agree, the trolley bus would be a 42 or 40 I live in another country and on a recent visit to Bradford I was saddened to see what a slum it had become. llos25
  • Score: 3

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