Gathering of the clan part one

This last weekend was a gathering of the Coatham Family as it was 50 years since we arrived in New Zealand emigrating from England.  Our journey was of course by ship, the P&O liner Oronsay, from Tilbury Docks London, via the Suez canal to arrive in Auckland on 22 April 1963.

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This is how we were in 1963! 

Back L-R Mike, Sue

Front L-R John, Bernice, Hilary, Steve

Check out today…..

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Back L-R Steve, John, Mike

Front L-R Sue, Bernice, Hilary

Not much change really after 50 years.

Family started arriving on Friday.  Roy & Bernice arrived at Awakeri Hot Springs to find that Mike Natalie & Stuart were already awaiting our arrival with Sue Jeff Jason and the twins arriving shortly thereafter. Steve & Les along with Fran and Clive were staying just down the road on Friday night but all turned up on Saturday morning.  Sarah Shaun and their boys arrived and of course John & Julie were not far away.  Hilary was next to arrive with Rebekka & Amy. Antony was the last one to arrive later in the evening.    

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Stuart Mike John & Jeff                    Clive Leslie & Sue

Some of us had been for a swim on the Friday evening, oh what bliss, before too long on Saturday the pool was invaded by a good number of family members. 

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Lots of children with adults             Leslie organising the bald ones

Of course food takes a major part in any gathering and lunch was put together before an afternoon of lots of chat with swapping of stories, photos and general catching up.  Some of the cousins (second, once removed, never sure which is which!!)  had never met before so it was a good opportunity to build relationships.

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We were fortunate with the weather with just a few odd light showers falling, unlike some parts of the country which were being flooded. We had planned to use the facilities of the venue for our evening gathering however, another group was in residence so plan B was put into place.  We put our large outdoor mat in front of the van (we were parked under a huge oak tree which gave us some shelter from the rain) and John had a large pagoda under which tables were set up.

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The decades in Coke! Oops..1983 went missing but an off course substitute was soon found.

127A toast was made to Hilda & Burnie (Mum & Dad) for bringing us all to NZ.  Let the celebrations begin!  A great repast was laid out for all with everyone contributing to a lovely evening of excellent food, drink & convivial company.  

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After dinner, Bernice ran a quiz for the family group, everyone was placed into teams, with the competitive spirit coming to the fore!  Quiz rounds consisted of sections with topics including;

1963, Pontefract, The Journey to NZ, First few years in NZ, Everything 50, Numbers, Dingbats, Food & Drink

Family members had contributed questions over the previous weeks showing that some have incredible memory for such things as car registration numbers, phone numbers, people, places, and events.  Scoring was very liberal leading to a generally agreed four way tie.  Some people could not refrain from answering questions in a somewhat loud whisper thus making it easier for their opponents.

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