Woman meets schoolfriend 35 years after newspaper obituary said she was DEAD

May 31, 2013 | by | 0 Comments

A woman has had a tearful reunion with schoolfriends nearly 35 years – after a bungled newspaper obituary announced she was DEAD.

Christine Greenslade, 66, decided to trace the childhood chums she grew up with in Penzance, Cornwall.

But when she got in touch to organize a get-together they were stunned to hear she was alive after reading of her ‘untimely’ death in 1980.

Linda Turney, Jane Woodall, Christine Greenslade (second from right) and Viv Allbright are all reunited at the Admiral Benbow in Penzance, Cornwall, 35 years after they thought Christine was dead

Linda Turney, Jane Woodall, Christine Greenslade (second from right) and Viv Allbright are all reunited at the Admiral Benbow in Penzance, Cornwall, 35 years after they thought Christine was dead

The mix-up happened when Christine’s mum Pamela died of cancer in 1980 and she wanted to let her former community know.

Mother and daughter had both moved to Ipswich but Christine phoned the local newspaper in their native Cornwall to place an obituary.

The Cornishman printed a short notice but confused the two women’s names and told readers that Christine had died aged 34.

Christine, a painter who now lives in France, never read the paper and was completely oblivious to the bungle.

She finally discovered the gaffe after deciding to revisit her childhood home and phoning her best pals from St Gertrude’s Convent.

The Penzance Edition of 'The Cornishman' newspaper, published on the 17th of July 1980

The Penzance Edition of ‘The Cornishman’ newspaper, published on the 17th of July 1980, in which Christine’s death was announced

Four of the gang have now finally met up 50 years on from when they were last photographed together – back in the same pub.

The original fading photo showed Christine sitting alongside Audrey Upton, Viv Albright, Jane Woodall – now Jane Johnson,  and Linda Turney.

Christine invited them all for a drink at their favourite former teen drinking hole, the Admiral Benbow in Penzance.

The friends – sitting in the same places – certainly had lots to catch up on after going their separate ways in their 20s.

Christine travelled the world as an artist and exterior designer before settling down in Maine-et-Loire, western France.

The grandmother and mother-of-two said: “It is obviously fantastic to see everyone.

“The obituary printed by the newspaper used my name instead of my mother’s.

“It was an incredible mistake but that’s all in the past now – it’s just overwhelming to see everyone.

“Not much has changed with us at all. We’re all the same people – an awful lot older but thankfully all still alive”.

Artist Viv Albright, 65, from Penzance said: “We were a great band of girls at school but suddenly we all found ourselves doing different things.

“In 1980 my mother phoned to say she had sad news that Christine Greenslade’s obituary was in the paper.

“Then one day I got a call from her. I was completely shocked. I’d been convinced she was dead for 30 years”.

Jane Johnson, 66, travelled from Ironbridge, Shropshire, to see for herself that Christine was really alive.

Thrilled Jane said: “Chris is one of my oldest friends and to have lost her all those years because of a silly mix-up was terrible.

“I used to think of her every May 6 on her birthday. It is absolutely fantastic to see her again.”

Linda Turney, 65, from Penzance, added: “It is an amazing story really. I am sure we will all keep in touch because we have a special connection”.
The only one missing from the original line-up was Audrey Upton.

Christine added: “We tried desperately to track down Audrey but we didn’t manage to find her.

“We’d absolutely love to hear from her, wherever she is”.

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