Facebook group for Ipswich women living in America now 300 strong
- Credit: Jane Tuohey
A friendship group made up entirely of women who come from Ipswich but now live in America has swelled to more than 300 members.
The group started life on Faceboook, under the banner 'Yes! We are from Ipswich’, in 2014.
Since then, 314 members have joined its ranks from across the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska.
Following trips to Las Vegas in 2015 and New Orleans in 2017, the group embarked on a cruise from Miami to Mexico, via Belize, just before the first coronavirus lockdown last February.
Discussions around another getaway in October had to be shelved, but the group hopes to renew plans in the near future.
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Jane Tuohey, who lives in Carrboro North Carolina, formed the group to reconnect with her home town after more than 30 years away.
"Most of the ladies return home once a year, which hasn't happened since Covid, so I know Ipswich will see an influx at some point," she said.
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"We have ladies aged from 30 to their mid 80s. This group is their lifeline to what's going on in Ipswich.
"I started this group hoping to fill holes for those who miss their hometown, to share memories, and find long lost school friends.
"Many have found friends and even long lost family through the group."
Most of the group moved to America after marrying members of the US military based at the former twin airbases of Bentwaters and Woodbridge.
Although meeting in person has been difficult over the last year, the Facebook group buzzes with up to 20 posts a day and some members have still been able to meet face-to-face when travelling within the states.
Group founder Jane, who left Copleston High School in 1974 and moved abroad in 1982, said the Facebook page is full of everything from discussions on British food and film favourites to old photos of Ipswich town centre.
"We are family," she said.
"When someone looses a family member, or if someone is sick, they often ask for prayer, and a lot of ladies reach out to them with so much love.
"It's a very loving group. So many lovely, kind, supportive ladies, of course, because Yes! We are from Ipswich."