50 years ago this week: Friday, June 23, 1961

THE man from Dawson Creek smiled broadly, sipped his beer appreciatively and said: “It’s sure good to be back.”

77-year-old Mr George Murdy, who is staying at 3 Ena Street, Widdrington Station, had good reason to be making that brief but meaningful remark.

For he is revisiting and rediscovering the Northumberland he left 51 years ago to try his luck in far-off Canada.

According to the folks in the Peace River county of British Colombia where Dawson Creek is located, the lengthy absence from his native heath is something of a record.

To get back to the elder brother he left in June 1910, he sold his 320-acre half section of rich land which he farmed 30 miles west of Dawson. Then he booked a reservation on a plane from Edmonton to Winnipeg.

At the end of that lengthy hop he bought a return ticket to Britain and travelled across in a Comet jet airliner – “A wonderful experience,” was how he described the flight – and landed at Prestwick Airport at the weekend.

From there he came by the bus to Widdrington Station and he made the long trip home alone.

First impressions? The neat towns and villages – “You do everything so right here,” he says.

Before leaving England Mr Purdy worked on farms in different districts including Shilbottle and Lesbury. When he got to Canada he had a spell on construction jobs then returned to his first love – agriculture.