Family reunited after 44 years for Norwich mum’s 90th birthday

Joyce Culling celebrating her 90th birthday at St Giles hotel with The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress,

Joyce Culling celebrating her 90th birthday at St Giles hotel with The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, and David Cossey, Anne Thornley, Colin Cossey and Josephine Ingham. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Bill Smith - Archant

A family was brought together for the first time in 44 years for their mum's 90th birthday.

Joyce Culling, from Norwich, celebrated her birthday at the St Giles Hotel on Friday with her four children, three of whom jetted in from Australia.

Anne Thornley, 57, from Leicester, is the only one of her children still living in the UK, and she said: 'It was the first time in 44 years that we have all been together.

'The last photograph taken of all of us together was on December 21, 1969. We have been together separately, but never the whole family.

'Everyone looks pretty much the same, and we just picked up from where we left of.'

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Mrs Culling, who once worked for the gas board in Norwich, and now lives in sheltered accommodation in Queens Road, said: 'It was a wonderful day and a big surprise. I did not know anything about it, and never had a clue.

'It was overwhelming. The last time I went to Australia it was for one of my granddaughter's weddings, but there would always be some members of the family missing.

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'A lot of them came to see to me for my 88th birthday, but they have never been all together.'

The grandmother-of-eight and great-grandmother-of-11, was born and brought up in Norwich. The family lived in Leicester for a while, but they returned to Norwich.

However, her children Josephine Ingham, 68, and Colin, 65, and David Cossey, 60, all moved down under, with Josephine and Colin two of the 'Ten Pound Poms' who migrated after the Second World War under an assisted passage scheme.

Are you about to celebrate a family reunion after decades apart? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email

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