All together now

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The eight brothers and sisters were all born in Jersey but have always lived on opposite sides of the world, some in Australia and some in Jersey.

They have seen each other on holidays but have never managed to meet up as a family until this Christmas, when a drinks party turned into an emotional reunion.Ruth Renouf (59), was born a Vibert.

Her parents, Violet and Cyril Vibert, lived in Grasett Park, where Ruth and her brothers and sisters, Graeme (60), Brian (58), Jenny (56), Lester (53), Cyril (44), Barry (43) and Andrew (38) were all born.But by the time Andrew came into the world two of his brothers had already emigrated to Australia.’It was part of the Big Brother movement of the 1960s.

They paid £10 each to spend six weeks on a boat to Australia,’ Mrs Renouf said.Graeme left the Island in 1960 when he was 16 years old.

He wrote to his brother Brian telling him how much he enjoyed working on a farm, tending sheep, and by 1962 his younger brother joined him.

By the time Andrew was born in 1965 two of his brothers had already left the Island, then Lester followed in their footsteps in 1975.

‘They were meant to be going for two years but they never came back.

It was unbelievable.

To us it felt like they had gone to the end of the world.

When they left we were very emotional – we thought we were never going to see them again.

There were no telephones in those days, so we used to write.’Since then the family have visited one another on separate occasions, but have never managed to meet up at the same time.

They were not expecting to either, until Mrs Renouf and her husband, Frank, went to a drinks party on 27 December with her siblings, who are still resident in Jersey and were let in for a huge surprise.’We arrived at 6 pm and at 8.30 pm we were sitting down talking and in they walked.

It was very tearful.

Brian had not been to Jersey for 33 years.

They stayed for 15 nights, and it went far too quickly.

‘We took them all around the Island to Bonne Nuit, where we used to jump off the cliffs as children, and back to Grasett Park, where we were brought up.

They thought everything looked a lot smaller than they remembered.

We also spent an afternoon having lunch with the rest of the Vibert family.’The Vibert brothers returned to Australia on Monday morning.

‘It was amazing.

I wondered if I would know what to say but we just got on so well.

And I am not sure we will ever have the chance to be together like that again.’

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