Three sisters received a special gift at Christmas: the blessing of spending the day together again after 51 years.

Jackie Barr emigrated from the United Kingdom to New Zealand 41 years ago and her younger sister, Eve Young, 21 years later. They moved to Stratford, eight and nine years ago respectively.

While the youngest of the three siblings, Ingrid Rowe, 63, has visited New Zealand twice - the last time in 2002, and Jackie, 68, and Eve, 65, have been back to England to visit, they have not all been together for Christmas since 1961.

"I wanted to do this trip now," says Ingrid, who is flying back to the UK on January 24 after a six-week visit. "We are all getting older ... I decided to bite the bullet and empty out my savings pot. We planned the trip to all spend Christmas together."


Jackie says it was great reminiscing about when they were children.

"We went through a lot of photographs. There were lots of trips down memory lane," adds Ingrid.

They spent Christmas Day at Eve and her husband David's home in Stratford, sharing in the festivities with friends, and their niece Sharon Richardson, who also lives in Stratford, her husband Darryl and their four children.

To add to the occasion, they also celebrated Ingrid's birthday, which is on Boxing Day.

"It was a double celebration. It was the first birthday we have been together since I was 12 years old," says Ingrid.