Families reunited for Christmas in Norfolk at Norwich International Airport

Credit crunch, recession, job losses... life may seem gloomy, but at Norwich International airport yesterday there was plenty of joy.

Local families thronged at the arrivals gate at the airport waiting to be reunited for some festive cheer.

Among the first of many people eagerly awaiting the 9.15am flight from Amsterdam – a connecting flight to Norwich from all over the world – were the Vinton family.

Ann Vinton and her children, Liam and Ellie, complete with Santa hats, were waiting for their dad, Steve, to arrive from their Abu Dhabi home.

They had arrived a week earlier, allowing the youngsters to see snow for the first time in their lives.

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Two years ago the family bought a home in Breckles, near Thetford, but this year will be their first Christmas in Nelson's County.

Mrs Vinton said: 'It's still the same sort of family Christmas for us in Abu Dhabi but Christmas in the sunshine is just not quite the same, we've even used the barbecue on Christmas Day before. We are lucky that there are quite a lot of ex-pats out there so we usually get together with some English friends but we are really looking forward to our first Norfolk Christmas.'

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Also waiting patiently was Hillary Ashenhurst, 78, from Deopham, near Wymondham.

She was waiting for her daughter, Debbie Frangello, to return home for the first time in more than two years, with her American husband, Tony, and their five-year-old daughter, Mia.

After they flew in from their home near Washington, Mrs Ashenhurst was looking forward to taking her granddaughter to her first pantomime at Norwich Theatre Royal.

She said: 'They don't do pantomimes in America so I introduced her father a few years ago.'

Also waiting was 22-year-old Sophie Parker, from Ormesby, near Great Yarmouth. She was waiting to greet her father, John, 61, who had been working away in the gas industry in Nigeria.

She said: 'He works one month on and one month off and has done most of my life. He worked last Christmas so it's nice to have him home this year.

'We've got all the family coming over for Christmas and then we are going away to go skiing in Colorado in America on Boxing Day.'


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