War bride tribute handed across Atlantic
PEOPLE thousands of miles away have been learning about a war bride from St Ann's.
Annie Pannell, known as Nancy, moved to Missouri, USA, after she married US soldier Bill Allen during the Second World War.
And now her American son Steve has sent a tribute to the former Players worker all the way across the Atlantic to relatives in Long Eaton.
But instead of arriving in the post, it was passed 4,875 miles via a chain of internet treasure hunters who play a worldwide game.
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Users like Steve visit a website – www.geocaching.com – to order and set up a 'travel bug', which is left in a container in public place, called a cache, along with items of 'treasure'.
The co-ordinates for the travel bug are then left on a website and the treasure hunters use GPS devices to find the container and the items it contains.
Some travel bugs are set up in the hope treasure hunters will take it and move it towards a specific location.
Steve, who left a picture of his mum and a message saying it was in memory of all war brides, hoped the treasure hunters would take it on to Notts and then to Germany, where his dad was stationed during the war.
It was picked up and then left at locations in Missouri, Kansas, Indiana and the south of England by the treasure hunters as it made its way to Long Eaton.
A couple from King's Lynn, who found the travel bug in Bedfordshire, delivered it to Cathrine Rankin, 46, who is Steve's cousin and Nancy's niece. Cathrine said she was surprised when she got an email from the couple in King's Lynn saying they had a "travel bug" to give her in memory of Nancy, who grew up in St Ann's Well Road.
She said: "We were going to visit my brother in Boston so we met the couple in a car park.
"It did seem a bit odd to be meeting strangers to hand it over but they were very nice.
"It's amazing to think her photo is being carried around the world."
Nancy, who was in the Auxiliary Territorial Service before she left for America in 1946, visited Nottingham several times after she emigrated to keep in touch with her 11 brothers and sisters.
Mrs Rankin, a teaching assistant, said: "Nancy was my mother's sister.
"It's been interesting for my daughter Helena, who is 17, as she was quite little the last time she saw Nancy. Steve is keen to hear from any of the Pannells who might still live locally."
Mrs Rankin, and her husband Chris, 53, will be sending the travel bug back to King's Lynn so it can continue on its global journey.
Anyone who thinks they might be related to the Pannell family can contact Steve Allen on packer firstname.lastname@example.org.