Romanian friendship which blossomed

The Romanian School Choir at Northbrook School, Leyland
The Romanian School Choir at Northbrook School, Leyland

Seeing a poster for a Romanian choir changed Bernadette Newby’s life.

After agreeing to host two Romanian students in 2001, the 84-year-old has made many nice memories after she kept up their friendships and has even paid them a visit in their homeland.

Bernadette, who has three children, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren, says: “There was a poster in church saying the Romanian School Choir was visiting Leyland.

“It was asking if anyone could put them up while they were singing at churches and schools in Leyland.

“I volunteered and my husband, Alan, and I took in two girls – Corina Solomon (front row, first on the right) and a girl called Georgina. I can’t remember her surname. They were about 16.

“We had them stay with us for two weeks and they were great.

“I took in two of them in case they couldn’t speak English, so at least they had company. It turned out they both spoke really good English.

“The culture trip was organised by Father John at Leyland St Ambrose Church.

“We took them everywhere. They went to the church’s organised dances and suppers, which were really nice.

“I kept in touch and I have been to Romania twice to visit. The first time I stayed in Bucharest with one of their grandparents and then I went to Bacau, where they lived.

“And I am still in touch with Corina and her family.

“There has never been an opportunity since to take anyone else in. I was about 68 then. The only other time we had exchange students was some French girls through Winckley Square School, in Preston, where my daughter went.”

Bernadette was delighted to see a photogrph of the Romanian School Choir singing at Northbrook School in the Guardian’s retro page.

She adds: “That picture brought back some really nice memories.”