An Australian ended an unforgettable European adventure with his wife by travelling to Chorley to find out more about his mum.
Aaron and Sarai Cadenaro-Smith spent time in Italy, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland during a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but never imagined what they’d unearth in the market town.
Aaron’s mum Linda grew up in Birch Road, Chorley, but moved to Adelaide in Australia when she was six.
She kept in touch with best friend Paulene Barnes, and when Aaron said he was visiting Europe, she told him to stop off at Paulene’s.
The five-day stay took the trio all over the town, knocking on people’s doors and scouring libraries and museums for information about old relatives.
They even tracked down one of Aaron’s long-lost aunts.
Painter and decorator Aaron, 32, said: “I wanted to see where my mum grew up, but I never imagined we’d find out so much about our family history.
“It’s been unbelievable, and people have been so friendly.”
He added: “The weather in Chorley isn’t quite as nice as Australia, but Chorley is beautiful.”
Aaron and his wife Sarai, 28, moved in with mum Linda in Australia while they saved up for their two-and-a-half month trip.
Paulene said: “Linda and I used to play together on the street, and we went to St Peter’s Infants School together.
“Linda, whose surname was Dickinson when she lived here, moved to Australia with her family in 1955, when her dad left the army.
“There weren’t many job prospects here, so they spent a month travelling to the other side of the world on a boat on a package deal.
“Our mums helped us write letters to each other as soon as she left, and as we grew up, we kept in touch.
“I used to send her copies of the Chorley Guardian, and I also went over to visit her when Aaron was about 13.
“It was really exciting to see her and meet her family.”
Linda, who worked as a cleaner before she retired, met Aaron’s dad Lee Smith Down Under, and they went on to marry and have five children and 16 grandchildren.
But it’s not the first time the Dickinsons have featured in the Guardian.
Aaron’s grandparents, (Linda’s parents), returned home for another special visit 22 years after they emigrated.
Dick and Joan came back to Lancashire to visit Dick’s dad in Whittle-le-Woods, and his sister in Manchester.
The article described how Linda’s dad managed to find work as a bricklayer when he arrived in Oz, and went on to work for an airline company.