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John Hurst, Wilson, Alexandra, Alix, Anne, Frank Hurst
Alexandra Roddie on board SS Carthage   Wilson and Alix on board SS Carthage   Anne, Alexandra and Alix in Singapore

September 16th 2014


Saying goodbye

Do you remember that beautifully shot scene towards the end of the film Billy Elliot when Billy says goodbye to his grandmother in the kitchen just before he leaves to join the Royal Ballet School in London? She sits in a chair only just holding herself together and can hardly bring herself to look at Billy as he reaches out to touch her hand. As he does so she lets out a sob and wraps her arms around him; it is a wonderful moment. The subsequent scenes when his father and brother watch him on the coach as it drives away are no less poignant. Billy is clearly torn; he finds it difficult to leave but, at the same time, is so excited about what lies ahead. His family can only dwell on his absence.

I have been thinking about this since being sent a letter by Anne Nicholls (née Roddie), Mary's first cousin, which was written in 1955 by her maternal Grandfather Canon Frank Hurst. I have put this up as a Went the Day Well article that you can read by following this link.

He wrote this letter to Granny Roddie (Anne's paternal Grandmother) shortly after he had said goodbye to his daughter Alix, her husband Wilson and their two daughters who were due to set sail for Singapore where they planned to live for several years. He describes himself as feeling 'absolutely desolate'; compare that with his description of his daughter and family who 'went off extremely cheerfully, without a tear, and all smiles'. I am sure that they, too, were upset to be saying farewell but were buoyed by the thought of the adventures to come.

The main photograph accompanying this blog was taken on the day that goodbyes were said. From left to right are: John Hurst; Wilson Roddie, Alexandra, Alix, Canon Hurst and Anne (in her NHS glasses as she would like to point out!). The three photographs below this are of: Alexandra on the SS Carthage; Wilson and Alix on the SS Carthage; and Anne, Alexandra and Alix in Singapore a year later.



  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010