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Telephonists reunited

Old friends meet after sixty years

Jackie Markham


01635 886654

A photograph in the the Newbury Weekly News jogged old memories

A group of friends who worked together at Newbury’s telephone exchange nearly sixty years ago have been reunited, thanks to an archive photograph published in the Newbury Weekly News.

Long term Newbury resident Mrs Sylvia Page sent the NWN the photograph of herself and her colleagues at work on the switchboard in 1959. It featured as “Picture from the Past” on our local history page, in our edition of 25 May 2017.

Sylvia was delighted to be contacted by five of her ex-colleagues who saw the photograph. A flurry of phone calls resulted and Sylvia was able to arrange a reunion with her old friends.

Four of the long- lost friends, now in their seventies and eighties, Carole Heuston, Iris Tudnam , Gill Davis and  Sylvia (nee Challis) met  for a meal and a long chat at the Two Watermills Restaurant in Monks Lane a couple of weeks ago.

Timing was everything as Carole was only in the UK for a short time, visiting her sister before returning to the USA where she now lives.

 A fifth member of the team, Cynthia Cooley from Chieveley, who was unable to attend the get-together on 7 July, met with Sylvia and Iris from Wash Common, at another celebration a few days later.

The women found they still had much in common. Sylvia thanked the Newbury Weekly News for publishing the photograph which led to the group being reunited, and said  “We had a lovely evening. It was really good to catch up after all that time. We have decided to keep in touch and meet together as a group at least twice a year from now on, as there are not that many of us left”.

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