Family ties lead to Whitby

Jill Burton with her brother Terry and his wife Libby''w123821b
Jill Burton with her brother Terry and his wife Libby''w123821b

A WOMAN who grew up in Tasmania has made an emotional trip to Whitby to be granted British citizenship.

Jill Burton (52) made a fleeting trip to the town for the ceremony which took place on Tuesday and coincided with her brother Terry and his wife Libby (59) renewing their wedding vows at St Mary’s Church.

Their mother Ruth Stevenson was born in Hawsker in 1919 and lived on the family farm, Brookhouse - which still operates as a dairy farm.

She died in 2005 but had met Jill and Terry’s father, Norman, during the war after he came to Whitby on rest and recuperation and also to find out more about Captain Cook.

They got married at St Mary’s on 5 September 1942 and moved to Tasmania where Jill and Terry were born.

A change in the law in 2009 meant that people could become British citizens through their mother’s descent and Jill has done it so she can get a British passport as she is moving to County Kerry In Ireland and it will enable her to travel to the UK and Europe.

She said: “It’s a lovely story for us, and it’s quite ironic that I am heading back to the town that she left to go to Australia and me to come here to become a British citizen. It hasn’t changed much since my last visit but there are more people.”

Terry (61) added: “It was emotional but a nice thing to do. I like it here, it has got a nice feel and we have a family connection going back hundreds of years.”

After their celebrations the family celebrated with meals at the Board Inn and Greens.