Christmas stories from the archives Little girl from Tristan da Cunha to have a Yorkshire Christmas

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A SMALL brown-haired girl with sparkling slate-blue eyes who has travelled 6,000 miles during the last few weeks, will wake up in a Sedbergh home o Christmas Day to find presents left her for the first time by father Christmas

The first time because her home in the lonely South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha does not have a Santa Claus.

The little girl, Valerie Alice Glass, is the first child to visit Britain from the Island for more than 100 years — the last children to come here were her great great aunt and great great grandfather, who visited Plymouth for a year in 1819.

Mrs. Marjorie Handley, the widow of a missionary on the island, brought Valerie back with her. Mrs. Handley had been schoolteacher to the island’s 89 children for several years since her husband’s death.

Valerie’s father gave her his savings to clothe and feed the little girl.

While Mrs. Handley told the story to The Yorkshire Post yesterday, Valerie remained silent, but occasionally looked up with a broad smile on her tanned face. On her head she had a green beret and she wore a jumper and skirt knitted from wool provided her father’s sheep.

“Valerie will go to an ordinary Primary School first,” said Mrs. Handley. It may in Sedbergh where Mrs. Handley’s parents live, but this depends on where Mrs. Handley secures a teaching post.

“We should like to be at the same school,” she said.

She hopes that Valerie will become a teacher herself and return to Tristan da Cunha for a period. When she is 11 it is also hoped that Valerie will be able to travel to Cape Town on holiday to meet her parents.

Since they arrived last week they have seen the sights of London, but Valerie has made no comment, except to ask of the sentries Buckingham Palace. “Are they alive?“

Now the little girl is to see Yorkshire, and she will be able to get her favourite dish there — fish and chips.

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