“My mother loved children. She didn’t care how many she had as long as we were all healthy” - reunion for descendants of Holt Williamson family of 19

Williamson family reunion. Picture: Ian Burt

Williamson family reunion. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Their descendants are now scattered across the world, but the 19 children of Maud and Albert Williamson were all brought up in a little two bedroom cottage off Letheringsett Hill, in Holt.

Jim and Ruby's wedding anniversary, 1964. Picture: Ian Burt

Jim and Ruby's wedding anniversary, 1964. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

The couple were devoted to each other, he was a signalman on the railways and she brought up their children in Hill Cottage.

The only time the 16 surviving children, two died in infancy and one during the Second World War, were all together was in 1964 at a silver wedding celebration.

But now, 50 years later, descendants, including their 91-year-old daughter, Joyce Milce, travelled back to the town for a family reunion at the Feathers Hotel.

Of the 19 children only Mrs Milce and her brother Jack, 97, remain, and she was joined on her birthday on Saturday by more than 50 members of extended family including 22 nieces and nephews.

Williamson family reunion. Pictured (from left) Sally Bull, Nick Bull, Joyce Milce and Lynda Bull. P

Williamson family reunion. Pictured (from left) Sally Bull, Nick Bull, Joyce Milce and Lynda Bull. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT


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'I have been so excited about this,' said Mrs Milce, who travelled from Liverpool for the day. 'My mother loved children. She didn't care how many she had as long as we were all healthy.'

The eldest surviving grandchild at the event was Jack Read, son of the eldest daughter, Violet, and the youngest great-great grandchildren were 13-year-old twin boys Jack and Kane Jenkinson.

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Some of the family were meeting each other for the first time, and others reuniting after many years.

Sally Bull, 54, attended with her twin sister, Lynda, and brother Nick, 54. Their mother, Monica, the youngest of the 19 children, died in 1976.

Williamson family reunion. Picture: Ian Burt

Williamson family reunion. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Ms Bull said: 'It means a huge amount, and it has been amazing to see people we have not met before.'

Mr and Mrs Williamson's children were born between 1904 and 1926 with two sets of twins. As the older ones grew up, they were sent out to earn a wage and help with the younger children.

A dozen served in the Second World War, including a 17-year-old Joyce who lied about her age to avoid being parted from her sister, Ruth.

The couple died when Mrs Milce was 14, and the younger children were sent to live with their older siblings.

Are you organising an unusual family event? Email sabah.meddings@archant.co.uk

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