A GARRISON family who are based in Perth, Australia say they are on cloud nine after winning a competition to fly home for the first time in four years to introduce their new-born baby to grandparents in an emotional televised reunion.
Kieran, Laura and baby Kiera Rooney flew thousands of miles from Perth to visit their families in Fermanagh with every step of the journey captured by a film crew which will be aired as part of a Denny Sausage TV ad.
There were emotional scenes and tears of joy while family members, a 15-strong film crew, producers and friends gathered in the Cox family home to await the arrival of baby Kiera, who they had never met.
28-year-old Laura, who is a child-care assistant and Kieran, a butcher from Ballyshannon, married last year on a beach in Perth surrounded by family members, however, Laura’s father Frankie Cox and sister Nicola were unable to attend because he had undergone a hip replacement while her sibling had a baby weeks before the wedding.
Laura explained that she entered the Denny Ireland competition after seeing it online.
After being whittled down to the final 12, the Rooney family were selected as the winners and arrived home last Thursday morning.
Speaking to the Herald, an emotional Laura said: “I’m still on cloud nine after all of this and can’t believe all the effort that has went in to this, we have been treated like royalty.
“I couldn’t believe it when they told me I had won, I hadn’t even told Kieran at that stage that I had entered.
“When we found out that we were going home it was like winning the lotto for us.
“I haven’t seen my Dad in over three years and when he came to meet us at the airport we were surrounded by cameras and extras and told to act as natural as possible but it was easy to do as we hadn’t seen each other in so long, so I hugged him and gave Kiera to him.
“The atmosphere at the house was like a dream and very surreal and felt like a wedding.
“Mum loved the whole experience and being in front of the camera – she was a complete natural.”
Laura’s mum Mary, who works in The Thatch in Belleek, and twin sister Emma, explained that the family weren’t due to come home until September next year which would mean missing out on Kiera’s first year.
Mrs Cox said she would treasure all the moments: “At one stage there was about 40 people in the house and the atmosphere started building and I thought, ‘Jesus, this is going to happen’.
“There were two cameras on me the whole time capturing all the emotional moments and all of us were in tears.
“It’s so important in a new parent’s life to have family around them so coming home was everything to us.
“We’re just treasuring all the moments we have with them before they go back to Australia.”
Laura’s twin sister Emma concluded: “The whole experience has been brilliant and it’s great to see her as we’re very close.”
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