Vicar’s surprise reunion — after 45 years

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LINKS of friendship first forged more than 40 years ago have been further strengthened at a surprise reunion at Ravensworth Road Methodist Church in Bulwell.

The REV LINDA JOHNSON (nee Powell), of Hucknall, was just a teenager when she was an enthusiastic member of the youth club at St John’s Methodist Church in Old Basford, which held special memories for her when she severed ties after leaving Nottingham for a new life in London in 1967.

Linda (65) chose a career in the ministry and for 11 years, she worked as a lay preacher in Hastings, Sussex.

But Last year, family circumstances played a part in bringing her back home and she took up employment as a lay preacher with the Nottingham north circuit, which includes Methodist churches in Hucknall and Bulwell. She is currently based at the Central Methodist Church on Baker Street, Hucknall.

John Goward, the former leader of the St John’s Youth Club and a leading light at Ravensworth Road Methodist Church, learned of Linda’s return and noticed she was due to preach at his church.

After making a few telephone calls and by contacting old friends, he managed to round up a few of Linda’s former youth-club mates and invited them along.

Despite a time lapse of 45 years, Linda instantly recognised most of those in attendance and shared a nostalgic hour of reminiscences after the service.

Memories of fun-filled get-togethers, youth-club activities, celebrations and old photographs contributed to a “memorable occasion” for a delighted Linda.

Linda, who was awarded an MBE in 1999 for her work with vulnerable young people in the Hastings area, said: “I am so grateful to John for making this reunion possible. Seeing so many good friends from the past was really wonderful.

“We plan to keep in touch, and another reunion with more old friends is on the cards.”

n OUR PHOTO shows Linda (front row, second right) with John (front row, second left) and some of her old pals. (PHOTO AND STORY BY: Peter Jordan).