TIGHTS, Marks and Spencer and a good Tyke laugh are what Anne Ratcliffe misses most about England.
“I still get my Aristocs sent over from the UK after 36 years,” she said. “I love retail therapy over here but it’s not the same as Marks and Sparks. I still love to come back to the UK and see the lovely countryside plus catch up with people, and you can’t beat the Yorkshire sense of humour. It’s a very different humour here.”
Humour or not, Anne and husband John have been on Australia’s Queensland Gold Coast since 1979, and away from Huddersfield since 1973.
Anne was born in 1949 at St Lukes hospital to John and Betty Steadman, living at first in Factory Lane, Milnsbridge and then Chapel Hill, Linthwaite.
Anne went to Clough School in Chapel Hill and then to Colne Valley High School, leaving when she was 15.
Her first job was at pharmaceutical manufacturer Thornton and Ross of Manchester Road, Linthwaite, then moved to motor dealership W H Atkinson and Co at Folly Hall, later Wakefield Road.
She married Holmfirth-born John Ratcliffe in 1967 and they had a son Wayne in 1971, followed 12 months later to the day with a daughter Lisa.
“We wanted a change in 1973 so we moved to New Zealand where John’s father spent his life,” she said. “We lived there for six years but I always knew it wasn’t the place where I could spend all my life. It was very pretty but way too quiet and isolated.
“In 1979 we moved over to Australia and worked for the Ford dealer on the Gold Coast, John as the accountant and me as the stock controller. John and I have always worked in the motor trade and still do now but we are semi-retired so only work about three days a week.”
The couple left the Ford dealership in 2007 and Anne moved over to Holden (a major car maker in Australia), while John now does freelance accounting work.
Wayne, their son, is married to Mandy with a daughter Alyssa, now six. Wayne is the managing director of an IT company and spends a lot of time overseas.
“He just loves going back to England and having a few Guinnesses,” said Anne.
“He owns an apartment on Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays (Islands) which we all love to go to. It’s only a one-hour plane trip from here but it is a different world – no cars on the island, just golf buggies.
“Lisa our daughter is married to Gary and both are retired jockeys. Lisa still works at the Gold Coast Turf Club, while Gary her husband is a builder here on the Coast. I’m so glad they gave up being jockeys – it was way too dangerous.”
Both sets of John and Anne’s parents came out to live with them. Anne’s father John is still alive and full of fun at 85.
“We still keep in touch with lots of relatives and friends in Huddersfield and have had lots of visitors out here,” she said. “We just love the lifestyle here and the climate is very good, quite hot in summer but the most beautiful winters.
“We have a pool but must say we don’t use it that much, though we spend most time outside and eat most evening meals outside.
“My husband John and his friend Phill Muskett from Marsden play music together, but only at people’s parties. They are called the Plonkers, and while they plonk, Janet (Phill’s wife) and I go and do retail therapy.”
Anne and John would be delighted to hear from people in Huddersfield: they are at 24 Pago Terrace, Pacific Pines, Queensland 4211, Australia. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org