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Worcester Family Reunion

at The Oak Apple

Sunday 4th May 2008

An account by Joy Peters, West midlands, England

Put together, the day Sunday May 4th 2008 and the Oak Apple Inn,  Spetchley Road, Worcester and the scene was set for the second hugely successful Darling Family Reunion.

65 members of the family gathered at the Oak Apple, about 30% up from 50 last year.

From the oldest, June Bick and Jack Grove to the babies Zak, Sophie and Evie, all had a good time. The babies had their share of coos and cuddles while some of the older cousins had 60 years of back history to catch up on.
The family feeling was amazing, no-one felt like a stranger, even where we had never met before it felt so easy to chat and compare family histories.

It was a great pleasure also to renew the ties that were made last year. Many people brought old photographs which we looked over enthusiastically, pointing out family likenesses and thinking "Oh my goodness, that's Great Grandma"
Martin's family tree was also a source of great interest, particularly with the added photos and being able to stand with another family member comparing our roots.
Dave Foreman once again put on a lovely spread for us, but for me food was definitely second to the pleasures of meeting the extended family. I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Martin for organising it all and to everyone who came along and joined in the fun. I will certainly put my efforts into making sure that this great occasion goes on - and on.......

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It’s a family affair as 60 get together

By Richard Vernalls

GENERATIONS of family members descended from two Worcester brothers have been gathering to raise a glass to their shared heritage.

More than 60 members of the Darling family met at the Oak Apple pub in Spetchley Road, Worcester, for their third UK reunion. The cousins, nieces, granddaughters and other relations are all descended from Benjamin and Henry Darling who lived in the 19th century.

Among the four generations of guests were the family's oldest members, June Bick, aged 84, and the newest, Zak Darling, who is just two months old.

Jayne Saunders, aged 49, of Kingston Avenue, off Bilford Road, Worcester, is descended from Benjamin Darling on her grandmother's side and attended the reunion with her mother Jean Mansell, aged 80.

She said: "It was wonderful and we even met someone who lives in the same road as us. My mother met a cousin she hadn't seen in 60 years."

Combing online archives and parish records, the family have discovered Henry was born in Church Street in 1825 - the second oldest of four sisters and eight brothers.

He became a tailor in the city but following his marriage in Middlesex emigrated to Adelaide in South Australia on the SS Sibella with his wife and two daughters in 1848.

Henry set up as a gold prospector earning enough to buy land and build houses, some of which stand today, and two of his descendants flew over to the UK for the get together.

Benjamin stayed on in Worcester living in St Paul's Street. Martin Darling, his great-great-grandson, said the idea for a reunion had grown out of some digging into the family's past.

He said: "A cousin put me in touch with my second cousin in Northamptonshire who gave me lots of information. We then got a call from a Darling in Adelaide and she had got our phone number through the Genes Reunited website."

Since then, the family have organised reunions both in the UK and Australia bringing together relatives here in Worcester, the West Midlands and from further afield.

Mr Darling, from Oxfordshire, said: "The thing is you get the feeling you have known these people for years.

"They might be fourth cousins but we all talk like we know each other.

Anyone who thinks they are part of the Darling family is asked to e-mail info@thedarlings.net

Source; Richard Vernalls, Worcester News                      Thursday 8th May 2008

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Worcester  Family Reunion

Sunday 6th May 2007 at The Oak Apple

 An account by Kay and Michael Lockley, Australia

A memorable day for all “Darling” descendants who were able to attend the family re-union held at “The Oak Apple”, Worcester.

Martin and Val Darling did a marvellous job arranging everything and contacting so many family members.

We arrived in England from Adelaide, South Australia, two days prior to the re-union and I was thrilled to meet for the first time all these previously unknown and new relations, many of whom were still living in the area where my early ancestor Henry Darling originated before he and his wife Rosina together with two small daughters sailed to South Australia in 1848.

It was a really great day and from start to finish there was a happy buzz of laughter and conversation, so a really big thank you to, Martin and Val, Joy Peters, Helen Cliff and Keith Saunders for making it happen.

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The Darlings reunited by the internet

FAMILY tree enthusiasts from across the UK and Australia have met in Worcester after discovering they were all descended from a city man.

More than 50 members of the Darling family joined a reunion at the Oak Apple pub in Spetchley Road to swap stories about their lives and compare genealogy research.

All those who attended were related to brothers Benjamin and Henry Darling, who were born in Worcester during the 19th century.

Family members have discovered Henry was born in 1825 and baptised in the parish church of St Peter the Great. At the age of 15 he was an apprentice tailor who lived with his parents in Diglis Street.

However, by 1848 he, his wife and two young daughters had set sail on the SS Sibella for a new life in Port Adelaide, South Australia.

Australian records show Henry later became a gold prospector and the family believes evidence of land he bought later proves he must have been successful in his search.

Martin Darling, who is descended from Benjamin, who lived in King Street, Worcester, said: "About five years ago, through the website Genes Reunited, I was contacted by a lady from Melbourne who asked if I was related to the Darlings of Worcester.

"We established we were fourth cousins.

"Then last year I had a call from Adelaide, from another cousin who was coming to England and wanted to meet."

Mr Darling agreed to show his cousin around the city and, in return, he was invited back to Adelaide to meet 60 of Henry's Australian descendants.

This year, the family decided to meet again, with 55 people travelling from Worcestershire, Oxfordshire, West Midlands, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Australia for the get-together earlier this month.

Mr Darling, of West Hendred, Oxfordshire, said: "We had a fantastic time. Everyone turned up and we all had something in common - we are all from one family.

"Some hadn't heard of each other before and others hadn't seen each other for more than 60 years."


Source; Alicia Kelly, Worcester News                           Wednesday 30th May 2007

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The Australian Family Reunion Monday 19th February 2007

Fort Glanville, Adelaide, South Australia

An account by Martin and Val Darling.

On Sunday 18th of February 2007 after what can best be described as the longest journey anyone could ever endure on purpose, we arrived in Australia ready for The Family get together the following afternoon in Adelaide.

With the sun shinning and temperatures up in the 30’s people started arriving at Fort Glanville in the Semaphore district of Adelaide. Distance we soon discovered would not deter an Australian from travelling. Sheryl arrived after a mammoth twelve hour over night coach trip. Bronwyn who missed her flight from Brisbane was not put off and soon arrived on another flight. Many had driven 2, 3 and even 4 hours to meet family members who they may not have even heard off before.

Kay and Michael together with the help of Jean and Trevor and Val and Malcolm had decided on getting everyone together and this they did in style.

During 1848 Henry Darling, his wife Rosina daughters Grace and Ida Amelia started on a mammoth journey of their own leaving friends and family behind in Worcester England to start their new life in Adelaide.

Only their journey took three months to complete onboard the ship Sibella in what must have been near intolerable conditions. Why I think did Val and I moan about the leg room onboard our twenty-four hour Qantas flight QF10 from London Heathrow.

I wonder, what ever went through Henry and Rosina’s mind on the day they set foot in Australia nearly 160 years ago, unlike us they didn’t have just three weeks, what they had chosen was a life time commitment, one which I am sure their many descendents are glad they did.

Henry left behind a very hard life in England at that time and got stuck into a new life building his home and through his hard work and determination he succeeded in raising the Australian branch of the family that we know today.

Some years after their arrival in Australia they suffered what must have been one of the hardest things they had encountered in their new life, the loss of Ida Amelia a talented young Artist. After this time Henry turned his home into a gallery to house Ida Amelia’s work’s of art. One of which is still lovingly treasured and kept within the family, a copy of which can be seen on the home page of this site.

Anyway back to the reunion, that brought together many of Henry’s descendants from all across the vast country of Australia.

My wife Val and I were invited to represent the descendants of Henry’s brother Benjamin who had stayed behind in Worcester England along with the other members of the family.

We spent the most wonderful day chatting with people who we felt we had known for years. Those of you interested in family history will understand the connection you feel with total strangers who are actually blood related. The common link, you are all one big family, and as such share other things in common such as blood groups and a birthmark on the back of the neck. Is this just coincidence? I think not.

We were privileged to have met some of  our Australian family, who, while in their nineties were sprightly and very fit, it must be the weather I remember thinking, they were all smiles and full of what I have come to think of as the Australian laid back, calm, happy attitude to life.

The evening approached, go home to bed! No chance it was then off to West Lakes for dinner and yes even more relations arrived. Those who were unable to come during the day were not going to miss this great reunion. We spent the evening chatting and swapping stories before time beat us all.

After staying in Adelaide for a few more days, visiting the sites with Kay and Michael, Val and Malcolm, Jean and Trevor, Sheryl and Rose we said our goodbyes and set off with our Camper Van for the next stage in our journey to Sydney travelling along the Great Ocean Road calling on route at many places to meet other relations, who hadn’t been able to attend the gathering in Adelaide.

We parked on the sea front at Torquay, which is about two hours from Melbourne, here we spent the day with Gail, Fay and Sheryl met up with us again along with her partner John.

We sat out in the Sunshine exchanging stories over lunch and before we knew it, time was getting on, Gail and Fay needed to get home so off we went following John and Sheryl who had kindly collected them on route from Melbourne in the morning.

At Fay’s house we met up with Gail’s son Bart and his girlfriend and the most enormous dog you have ever seen, an Alaskan Malamute, he was the size of a bear but as soft as ice cream.

The evening was spent in Melbourne at Iris (Bonnie's) house, again we sat chatting and eating cake and biscuits that Bonnie’s daughter Liz had prepared. Finally it was time to say goodbye and off we went to our campsite.

The morning soon arrived, up and off we went to Melbourne to meet up with Sheryl for our guided tour of the Melbourne sites. We were sorry to have to leave but after a couple of days it was time to move on.

We then stopped off and spent the day with Jack and Myra on Phillip Island, where we went for a very tasty steak lunch and each told our stories.

In the evening Myra, Val and I spent a few hours sat down on the beach watching the Fairy Penguins coming home from their epic feeding trips out in the Ocean back to their young who were waiting patently in their nests for their parents return. A fantastic sight that must be seen if you ever get the chance.

Then we set of heading towards Manly and Sydney for our final few days prior to that journey home to England. We now dream of our Australian adventure and look forward to our return hopefully during 2008.

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