Being “Part of the Journey”
On Sunday the 22nd of July 2012, the team at Winchester Mansions had an opportunity to truly be “Part of the Journey.” At our famous Jazz Brunch, we hosted the reunion of two long lost Sisters.
Elizabeth (Beth) Whelan was adopted at birth, and lived most of her life unaware of her sister. Some 20 years ago, she began the search for her blood relatives, posting notices on genealogy websites and social media. The search culminated in an accidental discovery of Caroline Gallacher in June this year.
“This year in June her daughter was doing a genogram for University and entered their surname on Ancestry.com and up popped a notice that I had posted 12 years ago!
They Googled my name and found a listing for me on Linkedin - I had been invited onto the site by a friend but had never gone onto it but fortunately my friend had put my place of work - Savoy Cabbage Restaurant. They then emailed the restaurant that night and Caroline (The Owner) immediately forwarded it to me.
And the rest is history!!!
It must be said that the first time I ever went onto Linkedin was AFTER this happened and 2 days before they found me I was going to delete my profile because I never used it!”
A few weeks ago, our Banqueting Manager, Rabia Brey, took reservation from a very nervous Beth, requesting a quiet table for the re-union of these two excited sisters. Rabia, touched by the beauty of Beth’s story, immediately set a plan in motion to make the day particularly special for them.
Beth and Caroline sent this email after their visit:
“The slogan for the Winchester Mansions Hotel is 'Part of the Journey' and little did we know how true that was to become.
I had booked a table for the Sunday Jazz Brunch and had mentioned that it was a special occasion and requested a quiet table for 2 where we could chat undisturbed. Like all good service-orientated people the receptionist had delicately enquired as to the occasion and I had told her that after over 40 years my sister and I were about to meet for the first time! She had been enthusiastic and helpful and had promised to ensure that we were given the perfect table.
I had been to the Winchester a few times in the preceding years and had always enjoyed it, and for this particular meeting I knew it would be ideal because it would allow us to relax in a beautiful environment while enjoying fabulous food and a good dose of soul - blessing jazz.
I had no idea that Winchester's slogan was about to become a reality!
When we were shown to our seats the manager, Niall Bruyns, asked us if we were 'The Sisters' and when we said we were, showed us to the most perfect table overlooking the gardens and with a view of the sea.
A little later while enjoying a glass of bubbly, he again approached us and said that the Winchester would love to be part of our journey, and if we agreed he would like to photograph us and frame the pictures of us to remember this special day.
We agreed immediately and after much effort on the part of Niall to get a decent piccy of 2 very nervous girls, he got a driver to rush to the Waterfront to get them developed. An hour or so later he returned with 2 frames containing not 1 but 3 pictures each in varying shades of colour!
To say that we were gob-smacked would be an understatement!
From the receptionist to the waitress to the manager, the service was impeccable, but those were things I had come to expect from the Winchester, but this gift, this was beyond the extraordinary. This was a blessing that cannot be 'trained in'. What they did showed an outstanding dedication to people and to life.
A memory created in joy will last and bless forever.
You have surpassed what was expected and touched the realm of true service and dedication. Our day there would have been great, but you and your team made it incredible!
Beth and Caroline”