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  • Writer's pictureJack Ward

Together at last

Published in The Ararat Advocate, Ararat's weekly newspaper published by West Vic News Pty Ltd.

FAMILIES split by the ‘ring of steel’ have been reunited this week, reconnecting in person as restrictions continue to ease.

Local grandparents have been quick to pack their bags and head to the city after five months of Zoom and FaceTime calls.

Grandfather of nine, Peter Waterman, hasn’t seen two of his grandsons since early June, but he and his wife, Leesa, were in the car first thing on Monday morning to Footscray.

Mr Waterman spoke to the Ararat Advocate from the shallows of Williamstown Beach on Tuesday.

“The kids are at that age where they've all been pretty excited and looking forward to it. But I must say, when we turned up in person it was a lot more exciting. Not just for them, we were excited to,” he said.

“We've been doing Sunday night Zooms. Each family took it in turns to read a story to the rest of the kids and adults. We had quizzes, we had art shows - all sorts of different things.

“A lot of people have used technology to keep that contact going and that's been good, but nothing beats picking them up and giving them a cuddle.”

Mr Waterman said there was a sense of excitement in the air as families reunited in Melbourne.

That feeling is foreign for grandparents Viv and Henry Burridge, but come Saturday, they will also be cherishing time with their 18-month-old granddaughter.

Mrs Burridge said they have missed the little things and milestones the most, having last seen their only granddaughter in May.

“Thank goodness for FaceTime because we've been on the phone constantly, like every day. But to hear her say 'Nana' for the first time over the phone and not to my face was a bit hard,” she said.

“She gets so excited when she sees me on the phone but when she actually sees me in person, I'm not sure whether she's going to come running to me or turn around and go in the other direction.”

The Burridge’s will enjoy a spit roast tomorrow when they reunite, as excitement builds for the arrival of their second grandchild in January.

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