TWO childhood friends were reunited after 40 years apart last weekend.

Susanne Crosby had not seen her childhood “soul mate” Helen Phillipart since the pair were aged seven.

Susanne, who lives in Ashurst Road, Brighton, described the moment she saw Helen again as “fabulous”.

She said: “I recognised her smile. We grew up like sisters so it was just so lovely to see each other again.”

Known as Susanne Evans at the time, she grew up with Helen (then Bradley) almost from birth but the two were separated in 1974.

Susanne remembers: “My parents moved around a lot.

“We were renting and would stay somewhere for three or four years at a time.

“We moved to the other side of Swansea and, to a seven-year-old, it felt like we had moved countries but in reality we were only about ten miles apart.

“We were both painfully shy and clung together and had our own language. We sought solace in each other.”

When Susanne was 22 she moved to Brighton, eventually settling down with her husband.

She now has a daughter and is self-employed in the arts.

Meanwhile, Helen is still in Swansea.

Helen contacted Susan through Facebook in February and set the wheels in motion.

Susanne said: “I use Facebook on my phone a lot to keep in touch with people and it was only when I checked my messages on my computer that I saw she had got in touch.

“If I had known she still lived in Swansea I would have driven up there to find her.”

After exchanging a few messages they arranged to meet in Brighton last weekend.

Helen came down to the city by the sea with her husband and dog in tow.

Susanne said: “She had never been to Brighton before so I showed her the Pavilion and we had ice cream on the beach. We went on the merry-go-round and it felt like we were seven years old again.

“I searched for a friend once I moved to Brighton but it’s really difficult to find someone you can trust. She was always there in my thoughts. It was nice to rekindle that old childhood safety.”

She added: “Without modern technology we would never have found each other.

“My dad still lives in Wales so I am going to make sure I go back there often.”