Tears of joy after cousins are reunited at Hitchin care home

Cousins Bryan Orchard and Margaret Waller have been reunited at Foxholes Care Home after a decade ap

Cousins Bryan Orchard and Margaret Waller have been reunited at Foxholes Care Home after a decade apart. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A pair of cousins who hadn’t seen each other in almost a decade were reduced to tears after being reunited at a Hitchin care home.

Bryan Orchard, 94, who has been living at Foxholes Care Home in Hitchin for three years, was left overwhelmed after a surprise reunion with his cousin, Margaret Waller.

Bryan hadn’t seen 92-year-old Margaret since moving his business to Bury St Edmunds almost ten years ago.

But now, the pair will be living in the same care home after Margaret was recently moved into Foxholes.

Bryan said: “What an amazing surprise! I couldn’t believe it when Margaret walked around the corner.

“It was lovely enough to see her but to then learn she was joining our Foxholes family, I was over the moon.

“After living alone for 11 years, I came to Foxholes for some short respite, just a fortnight, in fact. However, after enjoying my time here so much, I told my daughter to sell my house and that I wanted to stay – I haven’t looked back since!”

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Margaret added: “It was lovely to reunite with Bryan. We’ve shared so many wonderful memories growing up together around Hitchin and now we can share a lot more at Foxholes.”

Upon seeing each other again, they quickly embraced and didn’t waste a second in catching up for lost time, taking part in a dance to one of their favourite childhood songs while residents and staff watched on with smiles.

The cousins, who grew up just four miles apart in Offley and Preston, would spend time together at their grandmothers as young children.

Here, they would enjoy family meals, which often included pheasants and rabbits sourced by Margaret’s father; a gamekeeper.

Affectionately called Mick – after Mickey Mouse, due to being small as a child – Margaret reminisced about the times her and Bryan would go to village hall dances in their early twenties, a time when rural villages would have to make their own entertainment during and after the Second World War.

They also shared some tales of mischief, namely when Bryan saw the perfect opportunity to use the local farmer’s unattended can of red paint to decorate his pigs with stripes.

The two stayed close as they grew older, with Margaret’s late husband Dennis building two of Bryan’s previous properties.

Neil Gandecha, estate manager at Foxholes Care Home, said: “We’re delighted Bryan and Margaret are back together after almost a decade apart.

“I know the staff and residents have enjoyed listening to their childhood tales and I’m sure they will be getting up to all sorts of mischief now they are reunited again.”