Pals reunite in Leeds 75 years after first meeting

Vivienne Gough, left and Dorothy Dwyer   1000470a Picture Steve Riding

Vivienne Gough, left and Dorothy Dwyer 1000470a Picture Steve Riding

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THEY’VE been best pals since meeting as teenagers at the start of the Second World War.

These days, however, Viv Gough and Dorothy Dwyer find getting together a bit trickier than they did while growing up as youngsters in Leeds.

Long time friends story. Vivienne Gough, left and Dorothy Dwyer  Dorothy, left and Vivienne  in 1947

Long time friends story. Vivienne Gough, left and Dorothy Dwyer Dorothy, left and Vivienne in 1947

For Dorothy, now 88, emigrated to Canada in 1954 before moving to the US city of Rochester in 1962.

But she has stayed in regular contact over the decades with her old friend Viv, also 88 and living in Kirkstall Hill.

And this weekend the pair enjoyed a laughter-filled 75th year reunion as Dorothy paid a visit to her native Yorkshire.

She told the YEP: “It’s wonderful to be back, even if it is just for a holiday.

“Such a lot has changed in Leeds since I was last here [in 2008] but Viv is exactly the same, I’m delighted to say.

“We always have lots to talk about – we keep remembering the things that we used to do when we were young and foolish!”

Viv and Dorothy met aged 13 when they started attending a college in Beeston after war broke out in 1939.

Living in north Leeds, they would catch two trams together each morning as they headed into lessons. And, after leaving school, the friendship endured, with trips to the old Capitol Ballroom in Meanwood among the highlights of their many days and nights out.

The pair, who are both now widows, also refused to let the little matter of 3,000 miles separate them after Dorothy emigrated.

Letters and phone calls continued, with Viv making a number of visits across the Atlantic to see her friend.

For her part, Dorothy has travelled back to England on half-a-dozen occasions.

“When I came over in 2008, I thought that might be the last one I’d be able to manage,” she said.

“But then a friend of mine in Rochester who had never been to England before said she would come along this time to help me with the journey, and here we are.”

Dorothy said she would be going back to the States with many happy memories, including a visit on Saturday to Meanwood Parish Church, where she married her late husband Walter.

She has also noticed, though, that her old house on Stonegate Avenue is no longer there.

“It’s sad that it has gone,” said Dorothy, who worked for a chartered accountancy firm on Oxford Row in the city centre before emigrating.

She went on: “There seemed to be a lot more green space around when I was younger too.”

Viv and Dorothy’s long-lasting friendship is something that is also held dear by their other loved ones.

One of Viv’s two daughters, Lynn Burwell, is also Dorothy’s goddaughter.

Lynn told the YEP: “It’s lovely how they have stayed in touch.

“They always speak to each other on the phone on birthdays and at Christmas.

“Letters go back and forth as well, although they haven’t started email yet.

“We love sitting down and listening to them reminiscing about the old days when they get together. Some of the stories are amazing.”

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