Sara’s search to find Italian connection

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It’s all too easy to lose touch with friends and for one Owmby woman the decision to rekindle the ‘Italian Connection’ was left a little too late.

Sara Carter (Richardson) grew up in Faldingworth, where her parents ran the village store.

And throughout her time at the village school, she was friends with Linda Baxter(now Turnbull) and Mary Bianchi, the daughter of Nella and Jack, who originated from Italy.

The friendship continued even though the girls went on to different secondary schools, but when the girls were 14 the 
Bianchi family returned to Italy.

Everyone kept in touch to start with, and then over the years communications ceased.

And 50 years on, Sara decided to try and find them.

“Over the years, at every social occasion, Aunty Joy (Linda’s mum) kept on at ‘us girls’ to get in touch with Mary, but you know what it is like, you always put things off,” said Sara.

“When she said it again at Uncle Bill’s funeral - and with us reaching 65 - I decided I would give it a go.”

All Sara had to go on was the family’s original address from when they returned to Italy.

“I was certain they wouldn’t still be living there, but I wrote and put on my email address in the hope someone would know the family and pass the letter on,” added Sara.

And sure enough, that is just what happened; Mary’s niece made contact - but it was not the news Sara wanted to hear.

“Susan told me that Mary had died in 2003,”said Sara.

“I was very sad to hear the news and obviously did wish then that I had made the effort to write that letter earlier.”

But all was not lost and a whole new ‘Italian connection’ has been made.

“Susan put me in touch with Mary’s children - Fabrizio and Catia - who are very interested in hearing about their mother’s early life in England.

“We are planning a trip to Parma and they are interested in coming here to see the house they lived in at, what was then, Duncan’s Row.”

Now, Sara is encouraging other people to make the effort to catch up with friends before it is too late.

“It was the email that clinched it for me - it was so quick and easy; there really isn’t any excuse nowadays.”

And Sara says she isn’t going to stop there with her quest.

“We used to sell fruit and veg at our shop and when I was 11 I found an address in a huge box of apples that had come from New Zealand.

“I wrote to the address and we became pen pals, but have since lost touch - so watch this space.”