62-year-old sees ghost of Christmas past

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The Independent Online

In 1947, an amateur photographer from north London enlisted a neighbour's child to pose with his young son for a sentimental Christmas snap, which he hoped to sell to a picture agency to earn a little extra cash.

Fifty-eight years later, a post-woman from Bristol was doing the weekly shop at Tesco when she was amazed to recognise herself on the front of one of their Christmas cards. Now a 62-year-old grandmother, Jean Coles said she was left "in a daze" when she saw the image of herself kissing Graham Packham under the mistletoe when they were both just four years old.

The picture, taken by Pat Packham, sat for years unused in a picture library, until Tesco bought it for a series of nostalgic Christmas cards. The supermarket chain confirmed yesterday that it had sold just over one million copies of the card. Mr Packham was a keen amateur photographer who took pictures in his spare time and sold them to agencies to supplement the family income. For this particular picture, showing the two four-year-olds kissing under the mistletoe and exchanging a present, he borrowed the little girl from the flat below his own in Crouch End, north London.

Ms Coles, who has worked for 27 years as a postwoman in Bristol, may even have delivered her own image through other people's letterboxes. "I'm astounded that they have sold over one million cards with me on them," said Ms Coles. "If that's the case, I would have almost certainly delivered the cards on my round. I am overjoyed that so many people are enjoying the card."

Explaining how she made the discovery, she added: "I was doing my normal shopping and was looking at Christmas cards when I saw a familiar photograph and realised it was me. I was just dazed going round the shop. When I got to the checkout I said to the girl on the till, 'That's me on there'. It was amazing to see it."