MORE than 50 members of the extended Willcock family gathered recently for an emotional reunion in Bodmin – with some coming from the other side of the world.
Fifty-three descendants of Percy Reginald Willcock and Alice Avery, who married in Cardinham in 1919 and had nine children, came from New Zealand, Hong Kong and Spain, as well as parts of the UK, for the gathering at the Masons Arms pub.
The reunion idea started when Percy and Alice’s great granddaughter Debbie was told that her sister Heather and three sons were planning to come home from New Zealand for a holiday.
Having travelled nearly 12,000 miles Heather wanted to see as many family members as possible, so the idea of a reunion grew.
Heather’s wish was granted as 53 members of the family came together, including Percy and Alice’s two remaining children, Dot Sampson and Rose Johns.
“When the family started arriving, many hadn’t seen each other for many years and it was very emotional; there were tears, laughter, hugs and kisses but also so much joy and so much to catch up on,” Dot said.
“At times Rose and I were very emotional, we talked about our wonderful family and I said I felt they were all there with us in spirit.”
There was a large display at the reunion of family photos going back six generations, and Percy’s medals from the First and Second World Wars were also there for all of his descendants to see.
Percy, who died in 1956, was a sergeant in the Royal Garrison Artillery and was awarded with the Belgium Croix de Guerre, Victory and British War medals from the First World War, and the Defence and War medals from the Second World War.
The medals were inherited by Percy’s grandson Donald, who, somewhat surprisingly, is the only one to carry on the Willcock name, along with his son.
A copy of the Willcock family tree, which has been traced back to 1548 by Dot’s brother in law Harold Vanderwolfe, was also on display.
“All of the family are very proud of Dad’s medals and we all agreed what a fantastic day it had been, it was wonderful,” Dot said.
“Mum and Dad would have been so proud of the outcome of their love for each other, which includes 12 Grandchildren, 28 Great Grandchildren, 32 Great Great Grandchildren, and one Great, Great, Great Grandchild.
“We have such special and wonderful memories to treasure of the Willcock family to pass down to future generations.”
Mrs Sampson would like to thanks Ann Curtis, who provided the catering, and also Paul and Wendy Hudson of the Masons Arms for helping the make reunion a success.