A WEST Lavington historian is to reunite long lost family members in a special day of celebration on Saturday.

Lyn Dyson has been researching the history of the Holloway family for the past two and a half years and, after months of poring over dusty old ledgers and half-faded photographs, she has finally unlocked the family’s secrets and, even more impressively, has managed to trace around 150 living descendants.

The story goes something like this: in the 1870s Thomas Holloway, a jobbing builder from West Lavington, made the bold decision to move his family from their rural existence to London where he and his eldest son hoped to gain work.

It wasn’t long before Thomas’ five sons had formed their own company of builders, the Holloway Brothers, gaining many contracts for public works, including banks, colleges, churches, bridges, offices, hospitals and houses.

In 1905 the West Lavington Estate was up for sale and one of Thomas’ sons purchased it. This was almost the entire village.

In her latest book – entitled The Holloway Brothers: Master Builders, West Lavington to London – Lyn tells the story of the brothers from their humble origins to their position as one of the most prominent construction companies in the country.

And in so doing, she has managed to trace more than 200 living descendants of the five brothers, and on Saturday, July 15, one hundred and fifty of them will be gathering in West Lavington for a grand family reunion.

Lyn said: “I came across a stack of old, dusty ledgers and started going through them. I immediately knew that I wanted to trace the family’s history and see if any descendants were around today.”

Speaking about the colossal effort that went into constructing the book, Lyn said: “It was a real labour of love, but I am an obsessive researcher. I have to have something to research or I won’t know what to do.”

The family members will meet at the West Lavington Village Hall and enjoy a buffet lunch and a good old catch up, before finishing up with cream teas in the afternoon.

For good measure, one family member has even come up with a 19ft family tree.

Thrilled at the prospect of 150 long lost family members meeting for the first time, Lyn said: “It’s very exciting indeed. Everybody is very enthusiastic about meeting – some are even travelling from as far away as Mauritius.

“This is a unique opportunity for them to get to know their wider family, and they have embraced this prospect with enthusiasm. I’m really looking forward to it, I think it will be a very interesting day.”

Lyn’s book is available at Devizes Books and on Amazon.co.uk.

For further information email lyndadyson@yahoo.co.uk.