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Ex pat hopes of finding his ex ... Pat

PUBLISHED: 23:06 13 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 March 2010

SORRY seems the hardest thing to say … for many.

But not for George Mann who is 11,000 miles away and separated by 50 years from the woman he wants to apologise to after he walked out on her.

SORRY seems the hardest thing to say … for many.

But not for George Mann who is 11,000 miles away and separated by 50 years from the woman he wants to apologise to after he walked out on her.

Today the pensioner is living in New Zealand and has this message to a former love in Ipswich.

"For many, many years now I have felt very guilty at not having been honest with her and would very much like to contact her and say sorry."

And the woman the former RAF serviceman is trying to contact is only known to him as Pat.

He contacted The Evening Star from the other side of the world in a bid to track her down.

Speaking from his home near Auckland the 70-year-old reminisced about his relationship which came to a dramatic end more than half a century ago.

"I was doing my National Service in the RAF and was stationed at Martlesham Heath from June 1950 until August 1951. Within that time I met Pat and went out together for some time.

"When it came time for me to be demobbed, I told her that I was going to leave. Later through a friend I heard that she had phoned my unit and learnt the truth."

George, who was 20 back in 1951, said that since that day his thoughts had often turned to Pat, who was only 18 at the time.

"It's been on my conscience for years – I walked out on her. I told her I was being demobbed but I just left her."

George said that his memories of his relationship with Pat have faded with time, but he still recalls a little about life back in Ipswich in the early 1950s.

"I can picture the Cornhill in the town centre and the cinema where I used to go with Pat. I went to Martlesham more than Ipswich and also to Woodbridge – to the Red Lion pub I think.

"I used to cycle to Pat's house and we used to go to the golf course for a walk which I remember was nearer to Ipswich than to Martlesham"

George, who grew up in Glasgow, lived in Chislehurst, in Kent, before being drafted to Martlesham. He worked as a dental technician in Greenwich, London, before undertaking his national service.

"In the RAF I was an MT (Motor Transport) Driver. I used to drive officers and visiting dignitaries around – I met quite a lot of high up people."

George then moved to New Zealand in 1952 and currently lives in Auckland, the country's largest city with a population of one million people.

In New Zealand, he trained as a chartered accountant and worked for a large American company in his adopted home. He has been back to England a couple of times on business since he was based in Martlesham.

Despite the thousand of miles and 50 years that have separated the couple, George hopes to be able to find his former love.

"To this day I still remember her with fondness - she was a very nice person," he said.

George said that he could not remember Pat's surname, but did recall that she lived in the east of Ipswich.

n If you are Pat or if you know of her whereabouts, please write to Nick Richards, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, telephone 01473 282257 or e mail nick.richard@ecng.co.uk

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