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Blenheim Marlborough

Ale House debate

Wednesday October 5, 2011

Pride and joy: Gilbert apperley [left] with daughter denise and a photo album of his recently-discovered family members. He says the displaye d photo of his mother, joan apperley, is has favourite. inset: Gilbert with his niece Sue apperley, the first blood relative the 75-year-old has ever met.

Marlborough mayor Alistair Sowman says councillors will decide fate of Speight’s Ale House.

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Setting sail Grace Hawtin is looking forward to taking her sailing skills to Sydney’s waters.

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Family found Blenheim man unites with blood relatives 75 years on

Reach high Flight instructor Travers Tennant shares his incredible experiences in becoming a pilot.

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By Damian George Blenheim man Gilbert Apperley always knew he would one day meet his family, but it did not stop his disbelief when that day finally came. The Aberleigh Rest Home resident, given up for adoption following his birth in 1936, was treated to a shock visit from his cousin Sue two weeks ago - the first contact the 75-year-old has ever had with a blood relative. “I just stood there, I didn’t know what to say,” Gilbert says of the meeting. “There was always something I sort of clung to - I knew there was someone [out there] but I could

never put my hands on anything.” The brain behind the discovery was Gilbert’s daughter Denise, who used social networking site Facebook and website ancestry.com to track down her dad’s family. After finding Sue, who lives in Paekakariki, she was able to uncover eight living cousins of Gilbert, as well as pinpoint his mother, grandparents and great grandparents. Sue presented Gilbert with a photo album of the family members when she visited. “I think it’s fantastic,” Denise says. “Recently, Dad’s been saying to me ‘I wish I

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could meet my family before I die’ – he has now. “And it’s great for me too – I’ve got another whole family as well.” Gilbert was born in Wellington and brought up in orphanages there and in Nelson until the age of 21. He met his wife Harleen in Kaikoura in the mid-1960s and moved to Blenheim about the same time. He says he never thought much about meeting his family when he was growing up, but had become curious more recently. The family plans to have a reunion in October next year at Sue’s home.

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