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Canadian man trying to reunite all Sussex Blakers for party in Pevensey
What is in a name? Well for the Blakers of Sussex, a slap up meal hosted by one of Canada's finest former politicians.
Rod Blaker has launched a hunt for all of his namesakes in Sussex and is planning a giant reunion later in the year.
If all goes according to plan, 50 Blakers will descend upon Westham Village Hall in Pevensey in October, eager to meet each other.
But they won't just be standing around drinking tea and eating biscuits.
Instead Rod, from Ottawa, is planning to do some detective work to find out how connected the Blakers really are.
On arrival, guests will be offered DNA swabs with their canapés so Rod can discover if the Blakers are really all one happy family.
Special bookmarks have been produced as souvenirs and seven specially commissioned family shields will be hanging from the walls.
Rod has been delving into his ancestry ever since retiring as a senior Canadian politician - he was a deputy speaker of the Canadian House of Commons during the Premiership of Pierre Trudeau in the early 1970s and 1980s.
According to his sources the name Blaker originated in Sussex, with prominent namesakes including Chief Superintendent Tony Blaker of Sussex Police, Worthing-born artist Hugh Blaker and Brighton's Blaker's Park.
Much of Rod's detective work has already been done - a Blaker Society has been formed with more than 100 members registered from Canada to New Zealand.
Rod said: “I believe there are just under a hundred Blakers across East and West Sussex.
“My aim now is to track them down, invite them along, and get the society going in England.”
During August letters will be posted from Canada to the addresses of the known Blakers in Sussex, inviting them to Pevensey for the October party.
But Rod is after all the help he can get.
He said: “If any readers of The Argus know anyone called Blaker, please help me spread the word.”
The Blaker Gathering takes place at Westham Village Hall, Pevensey, from 1pm to 8pm on October 5.
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