A 104-year-old Sunderland woman who died earlier this year has made her final voyage after her wish to return to her spiritual home was granted.
Annie Carr emigrated to Camden, near Sydney, Australia, with her family in 1970.
It was always her wish to be laid to rest at Monkwearmouth Spiritualist Church, on Newcastle Road.
Following her death in February, her family set the wheels in motion to make Annie’s dream a reality, and this month, they have been on Wearside with her ashes.
Annie even had her passport stamped after touching down in the UK, and the family are set to complete their emotional stay in Sunderland this weekend.
On the trip have been her daughter, Mavis, son-in-law Ed and grandson Mark Wilson.
I promised my grandmother I would get her home, and we have doneMark Wilson
Mark said: “I promised my grandmother I would get her home, and we have done.
“She always used to say she wanted to ‘come back yem’. ‘Tak us home’, she used to say to me.
“Her last wish was to end up at Monkwearmouth Spiritualist Church, and I honoured her wish.
“She’s there now after a long journey and a lot of money spent, and it has all been worth it.”
Annie, who once lived in Victor Street, Monkwearmouth, emigrated on Christmas Day 1970, having suffered heartbreak six years earlier when husband Edward died.
Before leaving Sunderland, she had worked part-time in a department store.
Mark and his dad, Ed, have even taken in some Sunderland AFC games during their time in the city.
Despite the team’s inability to secure a win, though, that has not stopped their enjoyment.
Mark – who has been staying in Roker and was born two years after the family emigrated – added: “It has been wonderful to discover more about our roots and to go over some of my grandmother’s old haunts.
“I’ve been to the football with my dad three times, although we’re yet to see Sunderland win.
“We even went to the away game at Stoke on Saturday, and that’s an experience I won’t forget.
“The away fans were incredible and never stopped singing.
“The whole time we’ve spent here has been wonderful, and I really like the people here.
“They’ve all got time for you and I can understand why my grandmother yearned to return.”
Lesley Owens, secretary of Monkwearmouth Spiritualist Church, said the church was only too happy to help the family out.
She said: “The family said that Annie never stopped talking about Monkwearmouth Spiritualist Church as she used to go there when she lived in Monkwearmouth.
“She expressed a wish for her ashes to laid to rest at the church.
“For the family it has been a once in a lifetime thing and we’ve accommodated them as much as possible.
“It has been wonderful to get to know them.”