Best friends reunited at Wigan care home after 73 years apart

Old friends who lost touch more than 70 years ago have finally been reunited at a Wigan care home.
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Marion Darbyshire and Winny Shaw both left school at the age of 14 and went to work at Coops factory in Wigan.

They became close friends and spent six days a week together at the factory.

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But the pair lost contact when Winny left Coops at the age of 18 to get married and start a family.

Marion Darbyshire and Winny ShawMarion Darbyshire and Winny Shaw
Marion Darbyshire and Winny Shaw

Meanwhile, Marion went on to have a long career as a manager.

Now, an amazing 73 years later, the pair have been reunited after bumping into each other at Lakeside care home in Standish, where they are now residents. Marion, now 91, said: “I couldn’t believe it when we were sat at the same table for dinner, ‘I said is it Winny Shaw?’ as there can’t be many Winnys around and it was her.

“I feel lucky to have my friend back in my life, we get on just as well now as we did back then.”

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Winny said: “I couldn’t feel happier that we’re now reunited and get to reminisce on our old memories, it’s lovely to have a friend.”

The pair spoke about their time together as youngsters at Coops in a video filmed at the home, which overlooks Worthington Lake, and described how pleased they were to be in contact once again.

They explained how as teenagers they worked at Coops from 8am to 6pm on weekdays and then on Saturday mornings, with Sunday as their only day off.

Marion went to Lakeside in May for respite after battling Covid-19, which led to her becoming quite ill and admitted to hospital for treatment.

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Having never been in a care home before, she admitted she was nervous about it but said she believed she had made the right choice.

Marion was lonely at home, struggled to walk and used a scooter outside if it was not raining, with her niece and nephew doing her shopping.

But she now feels happier than she has in a long time, particularly after catching up with Winny, and says she feels at home at Lakeside.

Both women initially went to the home for respite but have settled in so well that they decided to move in long-term.

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The once inseparable co-workers are now said to be making mischief together at the home, taking part in activities and making new friends.

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