CHRISTMAS WISH - DAY FIVE: Cheers to 'second mum' Marlene

This Is Wiltshire: Rose Gibson and Marlene Ponting enjoy afternoon tea at Blunsdon House Hotel Rose Gibson and Marlene Ponting enjoy afternoon tea at Blunsdon House Hotel

A FRIEND who has been like a second mum to her pal was thanked for a lifetime of love and happiness with a Christmas Wish at Blunsdon House Hotel.

Marlene Ponting, of West Swindon, who lost her husband Mick a year ago this month, was nominated for a festive treat by her friend, Rose Gibson.

Marlene and Mick looked after Rose when she was growing up, and they have remained friends ever since.

Rose, who is seven years younger than Marlene, wanted to thank her for helping to give her a childhood, so she was treated to afternoon tea at Blunsdon House Hotel on Friday.

Rose, of Blunsdon, who is a great-grandmother-of-three, said: “Marlene and her husband Mick were a bolthole for me when I was young.

“My young life was very difficult but they would take me in, feed me, love me and show me how family life should be.

“I am now talking 52 odd years ago. Along with one of my oldest friends and her parents, they gave me a life and some childhood.

“Marlene is very lost since she lost her Mick. I have tried to make up for some of the love and kindness shown to me and I know she is very much aware of how much I love and respect her.

“She is a lovely person, selfless, and just a wonderful human being.

“It makes me cry when I think about it because they have just been brilliant.”

Mick, who Rose always nicknamed ‘Handsome’, died of a heart attack last December.

Marlene, of West Swindon, who is a great-grandmother-of-four, said: “I couldn’t believe it when Rose told me she had nominated me for the Christmas Wish. I love Rose, she is always there and always willing to help. The afternoon tea at Blunsdon House Hotel has been absolutely delicious.”

Marlene, who has four children and six grandchildren, and Rose both lived in Moredon when they met in the late 1950s.

They have remained close ever since.

Claire Ullah, sales and marketing manager at Blunsdon House Hotel, said: “We have taken part in the Christmas Wish for a few years now.

“It is a tradition for us now and we like being a part of it.

“We like to help other people, and it is great to be able to help to make someone’s Christmas Wish come true.”

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