A RARE family reunion was just one side effect of the unveiling of Maryport’s latest blue plaque.

Erected to honour Maryport climber and artist Bill Peascod, the local grandchildren of one of Peascod’s sisters, Garry and Paul Wilkinson, met up with the artist’s daughter, Emma, who lives in London.

“She was only about four when her father left for Australia in 1951, and we haven’t seen her since she was about 10,” the men said.

Garry Wilkinson is from Frizington and used to live “a couple of doors down” from Mr Peascod's house.

Paul is from Cockermouth. Both born in the ‘60s, they did not meet their cousin Bill until he returned to the UK for a holiday in the 1970s.

“He emigrated to Australia in about 1951, before we were born. I think his daughter, Emma, was around four at the time.”

Emma had travelled from London to see the unveiling of the plaque by Maryport Mayor Peter Kendall.

Mr Kendall said it was important to recognise the people who had made up the history of Maryport.

“This is the third plaque we have put up and I hope there will be more,” he said.

Also braving a steady downpour was Willy Poland, who owns the 17th Century cottage at 85 Main Street, which was home to the Peascod family.

“I knew the youngest brother, Percy, who lived in Broughton. I knew they lived around here somewhere when he was growing up, but I wasn’t quite sure where.

“I love having the blue plaque here. It is part of our history.”

The blue plaque was paid for by Maryport Town Council, prompted by an arts group at the settlement on Castle Hill.

Dolly Daniel and Linda Wyatt had organised an arts festival featuring his life and his talents as a climber and painter.

Covid put paid to that, however, so instead they commissioned a film by Cumbria folk singer and film maker Steve Wharton, who was there to record Monday’s proceedings.

An exhibition has also been held in the Senhouse Cafe, formerly Ma’s Pantry. It was made up of four collages depicting aspects of Peascod’s life, created by local schoolchildren with the help of the Settlement’s resident artist Alan Roper. It also featured photographs and information about the family’s life.