Cafe reunites two long lost relatives

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When a Leyland cafe was featured on TV it lead to surprise family reunion and bridged a 60-year gap.

The cafe, which supports Armed Services veterans, opened at Rococco, Chapel Brow, in April.

Connie Sharples, 92, who attends the veteran’s café was interviewed during the TV filming about the launch of the café.

And when her long-lost relative Janey Webster, 79, saw the broadcast she immediately recognised her aunty Connie who she had not seen for 60 years.

Janey contacted café founder Phil Burton, who arranged for a surprise reunion at Rococco on Tuesday, September 12.

The pair lost touch over the years and last saw each other at Janey’s wedding.

Connie’s husband Jack was the younger brother of Janey’s father, William Lund.

Janey, 79, of Fulwood, said: “I don’t know why we lost touch.

“I got married and had children and you’re busy busy busy.

“When I saw Connie on the telly I knew it was her straight away and when I heard her speak I knew it was her for sure.

“I just couldn’t believe it, my mind is only just getting round it now.

“We’ve got a lot of catching up to do.” Connie, 92, of Walton-le-Dale, said: “I was so shocked. I didn’t think this would ever happen from coming to the café,

“It’s a wonderful surprise.”

Phil Burton, founder of Leyland Veteran’s Café, said: “Stories like this are one of the many reasons why I wanted to open this cafe for veterans.

“All the emails, meetings, and organising is worth it when we have outcomes like this.

“It was a truly amazing day, and well worth it to see Connie’s face.”

Rococco café hosted and put on an afternoon tea for the two ladies.

South Ribble Borough Council’s Armed Forces champion, councillor Alan Ogilvie, said: “

The café came about after Phil Burton, a former Royal Artillery Lance Bombardier, came to South Ribble Borough Council to ask if it could help to coordinate veterans’ support services better.