The heartwarming scene took place at Australia’s Gold Coast Airport as part of The Big Aussie Reunion- the brainchild of Tourism and Events Queensland and Flight Centre UK, who teamed up to reunite 40 deserving Brits with their long lost Australian loved ones this week.
Tourism and Events Queensland and Flight Centre UK ran a nationwide search for deserving candidates who wanted to be reunited with close friends and family living out in Australia. After sifting through thousands of entries, Elaine was one of the final 40 Brits who made the cut.
She hadn’t seen her friend Paula since her wedding day 26 years ago and had jumped at the chance to apply. Both women lost touch as soon as Elaine and her husband joined the RAF overseas.
But after years of searching, Paula finally found Elaine on Facebook and they longed to meet again ever since. After waiting a quarter of a century, that moment finally arrived.
Tourism and Events Queensland and Flight Centre UK organised for 80 friends and family to be flown into Queensland’s Gold Coast from across the UK and Australia so that they could enjoy a week long holiday with their loved ones.
“Research shows that one in two Brits have a close friend or family member living in Australia and over two thirds of them haven’t seen that friend or relative in over three years. More staggeringly, 29 per cent haven’t seen them in over ten years, if at all,” said Jane Nicholson from Tourism and Events Queensland.
“Australia Day is all about revelling with your friends and family so, alongside Flight Centre UK, we decided to make a few dream reunions come true - just in time for the big day.”
“We were inundated with applications – so many heart-warming stories.”
Sarah Dean, from Flight Centre UK, said: “Today at the airport has been incredible! I don’t think I have ever seen so many happy tears.”
Elaine and Paula spent the week on the Gold Coast catching up and basking in the glorious Queensland sunshine.
They also paid a visit to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for some up close Koala action as well as heading down to the beach for paddle board and surf lessons.