Childhood best friends who lost touch were reunited 60 years later in a care home

A pair of childhood best friends who lost touch have been reunited 60 years later in a care home.

Irene Gresty and Janet Henderson, both 80, described themselves as being “joined at the hip” as children.

The pair grew up in Linlithgow, West Lothian, and were neighbours during the 1940s, but lost touch when they got married.

While Irene lived abroad with her husband who was in the navy, she decided she wanted to retire close to home and returned to the area where she had grown up.

Unbeknownst to each other, the pair lived close by each other for three years without being aware of the other’s existence.

And it wasn’t until they met at a technology event hosted by care home group Bield that they met again.

“We sat down beside each other and she turned to me and said ‘Is that you Irene?’ and I just laughed and said ‘Yes, Janet’,” Irene recalled.

She said that her heart “skipped a beat” when she realised who it was, and that the pair spent the remainder of the afternoon catching up together.

Irene Gresty (right, at front) outside her childhood home (Bield / SWNS)
Irene Gresty (right, at front) outside her childhood home (Bield / SWNS)

“We knew immediately who each other were”, she continued.

“She said her mind was made up that it was me. I’m very glad she said something as the last time we’d seen each other was a long time ago.

“I can’t believe my luck that it happened, I was delighted to have seen her again.”

She added that the pair had exchanged numbers and planned to meet up again soon: “We have many years to catch up on,” she said.

Janet said: “People often move away from the area, and you lose contact, it’s the way life goes.”

Both women now have different surnames after marrying, meaning Janet did not recognise her old friend’s name.

“I hadn’t thought anything of it when someone told me Irene had moved back to the area as I didn’t recognise the name – so when I saw her at the event it was pretty surreal,” she said.

“We exchanged numbers so I’m really looking forward to meeting up in the future, we have many years to catch up on.”

Tracey Howatt, director of customer experience at Bield, said: “We often have friends reuniting after not seeing each other for a long period of time, but I don’t think we have ever had anything like this before.

“It’s lovely for the two ladies to reunite and it just shows, you never know when you’ll bump into an old friend again.”

Additional reporting by SWNS