A ROMANTIC who took a leap across oceans in search of his long-lost first love has thanked the JEP for helping to reunite him with his beloved.
Nine years ago, Peter Barnett, now 85, decided to look for Faith, who he had not seen since 1959, and placed a classified ad in this newspaper in the hopes of finding her again.
He had last seen her outside a Kingstanding shop in Birmingham, where she told him she was leaving for the ‘paradise island’ of Jersey to work for a hotel.
Mr Barnett met Faith Phelps in church when she was 17 years old. Her father was the local pastor. ‘I used to walk her home from church on Sunday nights, arm in arm,’ he reminisced. ‘Faith was a very popular girl and good looking, I thought.’
The pair dated for about 18 months before Faith decided to seek a new adventure in Jersey.
Mr Barnett eventually moved to Australia and both would go on to marry and have families in their respective new homes.
Mr Barnett’s wife passed away in 2002 and Faith lost her husband four years before she reconnected with the man she had shared arm-in-arm strolls with as a teen. He thought about Faith often over the years and would look at some of his old photos. His favourite was a shot of a beaming Faith holding his baby niece, Rosalyn, in her arms.
Tired of pining, and on encouragement from his niece, he decided to take a chance that she might still be in Jersey and placed an ad looking for her in the paper of 8 March 2013.
The gamble paid off as Faith responded in just a few days and the two reunited after more than five decades apart and would go on to spend the last nine years of Faith’s life together, for which Pete is immensely grateful.
‘It felt wonderful,’ he said, of seeing her again for the first time after 54 years, smiling at him from their chosen meeting place, on a Jersey slip.
The reunited lovebirds would from then on divide their time together between Jersey and Australia and shared many happy years.
Sadly, Faith passed away suddenly last month aged 84. With Peter currently in Jersey to pay his respects, his niece Rosalyn James – the baby from his favourite photograph – contacted the JEP to pass on a note of thanks from her uncle.
‘I would like to say thank you to the Jersey Evening Post,’ the note read. ‘That ad brought us back together again.’
Ms James, who also lives in Australia, said her uncle and Faith were ‘a sweet couple’ and she was happy to have a played a small role in their rekindled romance.