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Family answers Blitz plea

Rita Blandford, 79, will meet her foster siblings for the first time since the end of Second World War in July.

Rita Blandford, 79, will meet her foster siblings for the first time since the end of Second World War in July.

The son of a Second World War evacuee has thanked Gazette readers for putting his mother in touch with the family who fostered her.

Paul Blandford was inundated with replies from people on the Fylde coast who read about his desire to reunite his mum Rita with the Webster family from South Shore, who sheltered her from the horrors of the Blitz.

A delighted Paul, who lives in North Norfolk, told The Gazette: “I’m over the moon, I’ve found the family.

“I spoke to the younger (Webster) brother called John and it’s just absolutely amazing.

“He was telling me all sorts from his memories.

“He remembers mum vividly, her being collected from the house and given a tin of biscuits.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled, especially for mum.”

Paul, 42, now hopes to set up a reunion for the long lost foster siblings in time for Rita’s 80th birthday in July.

Among them is Norma Wheatley, who welcomed Rita into the home she grew up in on Edgeway Road, along with her brother John, now 74, and sister Ann, 73.

Norma, 79, who now lives on Blackpool Road, Carleton, said: “It was a really lovely surprise and (Paul) was so thrilled.

“I haven’t seen her at all since she left at the end of the war.

“I can remember the evacuees coming and there were about eight of them heading in two by two holding gas masks.

“They asked mum if she’d like to take on and she said she’d take ‘that little girl’, which was Rita.

“There were three children in the house and there wasn’t a lot of room at all, and I shared a bed with her.

“My mum always treated her the same as us, at Christmas she always got what I got.

“I often thought about her and wondered what she’d done in life.”

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