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Read all about it....Family's get together in Lowestoft proves a relative success

Read family reunion in Lowestoft. PICTURES: Mick Howes.

Read family reunion in Lowestoft. PICTURES: Mick Howes.

Archant

SOME of us struggle to get our family together for dinner.

But that was certainly not the case at the weekend as descendants of a Carlton Colville couple who married in 1904 gathered for a reunion – from across the UK and beyond.

The relatives of Lowestoft fisherman Arthur Read, who was born in 1880, and his wife Florence, who was born in 1881, got together for the eleventh Read family reunion at Carlton Colville Community Centre.

Mr Read was the well-known skipper of the Lowestoft fishing boat Beacon Star and he and his wife had eight children – Billy, Eva, Ted, Mary, Ronald, Harold, Olive and Joyce.

On Saturday, their great great great grandchildren were among the Reads who enjoyed the day catching up, swapping new and memories, and examining a family tree, photographs and documents.

Among the pictures on show was one of Arthur Read in a typical fisherman’s pose with a pipe, and one of his wife with her sister Hannah.

The Read family reunions started after Eva’s 80 birthday party in 1988 when she mentioned to her daughter, Christine Hesslegrave, that it was nice to see her relatives and it should happen more often.

The first one was held two years before her death in 2001, and since then family members and their relatives have got together at various locations including Cheltenham, Milford Haven, Epping, Harlow and Belgium.

Mrs Hesslegrave, 65, from Pembrokeshire, a granddaughter of Arthur and Florence, said: “Florence Read died when she was 40 and my mother Eva then became the lynch-pin of the family and looked after her brothers and sisters. She made a promise to look after them and she kept it.

“At her 80th birthday she enjoyed meeting her cousins and said she we needed to do it more often, and so that is why we started the reunions – it was like a promise to my mother.

“It is wonderful when we all meet. We have a meal and there is a lot of chat and fun going on.”

Mrs Hesslegrave said she remembered her grandfather as a “big man” and watching him sitting in his rocking chair.

Included among the Read family displays were Eva’s memoirs, which she wrote when she was 76.

In them she described zeppelin raids and bombardments in the first world war, making friends with an Evelyn Pegg and being visited by school inspector called Mr Rumby when she had the mumps.

Arthur Read was one of 10 brothers, seven of whom were fishermen or smacksmen, and he also had five sisters. Two of them married into the same family as him – the Thorpes.

He lived with his wife in Beccles Road before they moved to Fulchers Cottages, in what is now Grove Road.

After his wife died in 1921, he remarried and had three more children. He died in 1956 at the age of 76.

Also at the reunion was the great grandson of Mr and Mrs Read, Eddy Van Hecke, 53, who lives in Ghent in Belgium.

He said: “At my first reunion everyone was a stranger to me. But now I feel everyone is part of my family.”

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