Cliff and Ted share
happy memories after 60 years of separation
Cliff and Ted reunited after 60
Ted and cliff on holiday in
A LISBURN man has had an emotional reunion
with a friend he hadn't seen for 60 years.
Cliff Shields and Ted Chambers were reunited
last week, spending the day reminiscing and sharing some almost
forgotten memories of their days as teenagers in Northern
Ireland six decades ago.
Cliff, who lives in Ballinderry, made contact
with Ted, who now lives in Toronto after placing a newspaper ad,
and his old friend was so delighted to hear from him he decided
to make the journey back to Northern Ireland to visit his old
The friends, who played on the Fisherwick
Young Mens Association football team, shared many happy days
growing up in Northern Ireland and some even happier times on
holiday in Scotland with 'the old gang'.
They last bade farewell as Cliff boarded a
boat to work in Germany when he was seventeen and Ted left
Northern Ireland to live in Canada.
As the years rolled by neither thought they
would see each other again. So it was with great delight that
they sat down to look over old photographs and share some
amusing anecdotes of their escapades as young men.
Cliff and Ted with
their old gang.
"We used to go camping in Largs in Scotland,"
recalls Ted. "We rented tents and Cliff and I were in charge of
the spending money. I always had to put up the tents while
everyone else sat and watched."
According to Ted, Cliff was the heartthrob of
the gang, accusing him of "pinching several of my girlfriends."
But despite this the pair remained firm
friends and, together with 'Turkington' they were the 'Three
Musketeers', the inner circle of the gang.
Playing football every week Ted, who lived in
Bangor, inevitably missed the last train back home and stayed at
Cliff's Lisburn home, where he delighted in Cliff's mother's
fantastic cooking. "His mother always had breakfast ready on the
porch every Sunday," remembers Ted. "She never failed. She was
some cook. I will never forget those Sunday breakfasts."
And Cliff recalls one particular visit from
Ted that came as quite a surprise to his father. "Ted kept
missing the last train at midnight so I took him home to our
house and the two of us slept in the sitting room while his
sister Joan slept in my bed.
"My father always brought me a fry on a
Sunday morning and, not knowing Ted had stayed over, went
upstairs with the fry only to find a strange woman, Ted's
sister, in my bed. I think he believed my explanation!"
two went their separate ways at the age of 17, Cliff moving to
Germany where he worked for an international company attending
trade fairs throughout Europe. And it was in Germany that Cliff
met his wife Helga, who sadly passed away three years ago. The
pair returned to Northern Ireland in 1969, settling again in
Lisburn. He was the Managing Director of the Spinning Mill,
which had twenty outlets in Northern Ireland, and later went on
to be the Personnel Director of Texas Homecare. He will also be
remembered by many in the business community as the Chairman of
the Lisburn Traders' Association, Chairman of the Belfast Large
Traders' Association and the Vice President of the Belfast
Chamber of Trade.
Meanwhile, Ted was building his life in
Canada. After working on a farm in Ontario for two years on the
government's Assisted Passage scheme, he moved to Toronto and
started work in GE when he was 19.
It was when Cliff was diagnosed with a rare
blood disorder, Polycythaemia Vera, that he decided to get in
touch with his old friend again before it was too late.
It is thanks to two of Cliff's friends, Ruth
and Victor Coleman, and his carers, Vera McCausland, Deirdre
Hamilton, Jacqueline McCausland and Elizabeth Elwood, that he
was able to welcome Ted into his home.
"I am on a home to hospital scheme,"
explained Cliff. "I have four carers, who work for Rogers
Community Care, who are excellent. The NHS District Nursing
Team, led by Sister Phyllis, staff nurse Deirdre and staff nurse
Fiona, have also been wonderful. I wouldn't be here without them
and my two friends Ruth and Victor McCausland, who have been
He went on to explain how he managed to get
in contact with Ted after so long.
I placed an ad in the Bangor Spectator,
because that was where Ted lived.
"His sister-in-law saw the-ad and contacted
me. I got in touch with Ted and we have kept in contact ever
"It is really nice and a lot of fun to get
together and share our memories. I never thought I would see