Two long-lost friends have been reunited after 65 years ,following a chance meeting at a Budleigh Salterton day centre.
Lorna Hawes, 86, of Granary Lane, and Norma Tasker, 78, of Penlee, forged a close friendship when they worked together at the now-closed Chapel Street Co-op between 1947 and 1949.
They have now had just six weeks to catch up on six decades after they unexpectedly bumped into each other at Budleigh Salterton’s Age Concern lunch club.
Norma worked at the shop from aged 14 to 16, but, soon afterwards, the pair lost touch - she moved away, got married, and lived variously in Lincolnshire and Hertfordshire. After her husband retired she moved back to her ‘home’ of Budleigh 11 years ago.
For her part, Lorna continued to work at the store for several more years before moving with her husband to Liverpool to find work.
She eventually landed a job working for a Jewish family, looking after their children, and only returned 24 years ago, after her husband died.
Norma said: “When I saw her at first, I wasn’t really sure if it was Lorna. Last time I saw her I was 16; people change so much in 65 years.
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“I asked are you Lorna? She said yes, and I just couldn’t believe it. It was such a lovely surprise!”
Lorna says she had been trying to trace Norma for several years - not knowing they had both been living in the town since 2000, and even enquired after her at her old haunts, including the Methodist Church.
She said: “We probably passed each other on the street and not even realised it!
“But when I realised it was her, I was so pleased to see her again. It had been such a long time.
“I hoped that we would meet up again one day.”
Norma added: “If I hadn’t come to Age Concern, we may not have ever seen each other again.”