Four pensioners who were childhood best friends have reunited after more than 50 years without seeing one another.
The quartet, who were all born and bred in Marsden, have planted their roots and settled across the globe since their schooldays together.
Maureen Thorpe and Pat Yates, both 69, and Janice Bussey and Joan De La Cruz, both 70, went to school together – from infant to Colne Valley High School.
Maureen, who now lives in Golcar with her third husband, said: “It was just like yesterday again. The friendships had stayed. It was like we’d never been apart. That’s what I call true friendship – it’s never died.”
Pat, whose maiden name is Leonard, joined the army when she left school, before moving to Spain with her second husband.
The mum-of-four recently returned to the Colne Valley and now lives in Linthwaite.
Janice, whose maiden name is Gartside, worked with Maureen at the George Mallinson Mill in Linthwaite as a mender after they left school.
The mum-of-four later moved to South Carolina in America with her second husband.
Joan, whose maiden name is Hollis, fell pregnant and married her first husband at just 18.
The gave birth in Australia where had she three more children with her second husband.
The retired childcare worker, who is a practicing white witch, still lives in Darwen in Australia.
The four friends used to watch films at Marsden’s Electric Theatre, which was also known as ‘Auntie Laura’s’ before it closed in 1975, dance at the youth club at the Marsden Mechanics Hall and climb the ‘mighty rock’ at Pipers Stones behind the Wood Terrace housing estate.
They had not all been together since their last days of school when they would have been around 15-years-old.
Janice and Joan had been due to return to Marsden, coincidentally at the same time, and the group decided they should take advantage of the opportunity by reuniting.
They met up in Marsden Conservative Club, along with around 60 people from their school year and the year above them.
Maureen, a mum-of-four who has 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, said: “It was just wonderful to see them again, especially as it will be Janice and Joan’s last ever trips to the UK.”
She added: “When we were teenagers, Marsden was a wonderful place to grow up.”