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Allen & Dawn Sparks

Allen says: "I am retired and live with my wife Dawn in Memphis, TN.  We have been married almost six years.  I have a love of nature and my main hobby is wildlife photography.  I have been to London once before but never to Cornwall.  Looking forward to the trip."

"Hi! I am Dawn Sparks and will be joining the Cornwall trip along with my husband, Allen Sparks, and sister in law, Margaret Sparks. Allen and I live in Memphis along with our cat and dog. My background is in elementary education and after 20 years in the public school system I have dialed back to teaching preschool part time. This will be my first trip across the big pond and I am very excited.  I enjoy nature and scenic places as well as the amazing history and architecture I am sure we will encounter.   I look forward to meeting you soon!"

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Margaret Sparks

Hello, I am Margaret Sparks.  Fellow traveler Allen Sparks and wife Dawn are my brother and sister-in-law, respectively, and the Spearmans are my cousins.  I grew up in the South, but am now an attorney at a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey.   I enjoy traveling (my photo was taken in Bali on a dive trip) and cultural activities like the ballet and opera.  I’m looking forward to returning to Cornwall with Jean and meeting all of you.

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Jake & Mary Rowell

"Hello, I'm Jake Rowell, married to Mary, and we have 2 daughters and one grand-daughter. Now retired, my business career involved 4 years in the US Coast Guard, 26 years in community banking and 9 years as business manager at my church.  My interests now include kayaking, volunteering at various ventures here in Anderson, travelling and enjoying our grand-daughter, Mary Banton.  While in the Coast Guard, I was assigned to an polar icebreaker and made 2 trips to the Antarctic and 1 trip to the arctic.  So, in my travels I saw South America, Australia, New Zealand, Tanzania, Mozambique and Greenland.  But this trip to Cornwall will be my first trip to the European continent."

"Hi, I am Mary, married to Jake.  I have had two careers, one as a Medical Technologist in a microbiology lab, a hematology lab, and then teaching blood banking in a Med Tech school, and one short stint in a doctor's office. After that I taught high school science and then taught at a technical school.  Now I am happily retired and enjoying our daughters and grand daughter.  We also have two dogs who keep us active walking!  This is my first trip out if the USA and after Cornwall we are looking forward to traveling to Edinburgh, Scotland for a few days on a search for my roots on my father's side."

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Terry & Colleen Patterson

"We currently live in Seneca, SC. We moved here in 2011 from Stuart, Florida. Terry retired from Duke Power in 2016. Colleen is an RN that volunteers with a dementia care group and with hospice.  We have four kids and two grandkids.  We enjoy playing old time mountain music, camping, hiking, cards, and sailing.  This will be Colleen’s first time to use a passport. Terry has been to England many time with the Navy Reserves but it’s been many years since his last trip.  We are looking forward to this very intimate group traveling adventure and the many special places that Gary will take us to explore!"

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Carol & Bill Jarrett

"Both Carol and Bill grew up in Baltimore but later met and married in Atlanta, where both have lived for many years. Bill is a retired eye surgeon and Carol a homemaker. Bill's interests include baseball (a huge Braves fan), tennis, anything related to history, and travel. Carol communicates with family, tries to keep our home relatively organized, and enjoys swimming and fast walking. We both pursue Bible study, and Carol is a prayer intercessor. Our family is not in Atlanta, so there are frequent trips out of State to see all. At least ten summer holidays have been spent exploring different parts of Scotland, but we have never been to Cornwall and are looking forward to seeing this part of Great Britain. Thank you, Jean and Cheryl!"

From Carol: "I look forward to being part of this group with Jean and Cheryl very much. Jean has found a leisure center in a nearby town, and I hope to be there most days for a swim if anyone would care to please join me. I do want to alert you now that I'll appreciate your help in keeping away from peanuts and other nuts because of my deadly allergy. Even though we travel a lot and plan ahead as much as possible, I still have to depend on those preparing food at a pub or other facility that they absolutely understand the life-and-death aspect! The help of family and friends is greatly appreciated."

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Seth & Katie Spearman

"I am Katie Spearman and I teach Kindergarten in Greenville County, SC.  I have been married to Seth going on 27 years and we have four girls ages, Amanda 18, Mary Kate 21, Caroline 22 (and her husband Geoffrey) and Susanna 24.  In my spare time I enjoy reading, hosting people at our house, and volunteering at our church. We have never been to England before, and we are looking forward to getting to know you all as well as spending time with our cousins, Margaret, Allen, and Dawn."

"Hi, I am Seth, Katie's husband.  Professionally I am a software developer. In my spare time I enjoy technology, reading, and answering questions on Quora.  Katie and I are also very involved in our Church."

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Jean Spearman

"I am Jean Spearman.  I am currently teaching at Camperdown Academy in Greenville, SC, which is a private school for students with dyslexia. Steve and I have been married for 28 years and have 3 children.  Emily graduated from the Animation program at Savannah College of Art and Design and currently lives and works in Los Angeles.  David graduated from Clemson in December '17 and will begin a Ph.D program in Economics at George Mason University this fall.  Meg is studying Theater/Musical Theater at Marymount Manhattan College.  My love affair with England began in 1984, when I spent a year at the University of Exeter on a Rotary Scholarship.  I enjoy teaching literature and history, cooking for friends and family, reading, walking my dogs, and watching almost any British period drama.   I am looking forward to spending time with each of you and hope you end up enjoying Cornwall as much as I do.

P.S.  The attached photo was taken in Falmouth with Gary, our wonderful driver and guide."

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Cheryl Martin

"Greetings, fellow travelers! I’m Cheryl Martin, Jean’s trusty assistant, and here’s my story: I was born in rural North Carolina, surrounded by tobacco fields, NASCAR, and Baptist churches. After getting my BA in English at Western Carolina University, I married Jeff (the love of my life), completed my MA in English, moved to Clemson, and began having sons. Three, in fact: Thomas (wife Emmeline and our nearly 2-year-old grandson Wilder in Portland, OR), Sam (wife Jamie in Greenville), and Nate (single in Cincinnati). After thirty years in Clemson, Jeff and I moved to Greenville in 2016, where we continue to be blessed with a home that serves as a haven for sojourners seeking supper or conversation or a bed for the night. Because I love stories—those you find in books and those you hear in line at the grocery—my favorite “ministry” is finding ways to combine dinner and discussion (about literature or culture or personal stories). These days, I work a variety of part-time jobs to fund my trips to Portland.

This will be my eleventh trip across the pond, and it never gets old! I’m looking forward to our adventure with much joy. See you in just a few weeks! Cheers!

P.S. This photo of me was taken in 2016 at Lanhydrock House in Cornwall; the pink raincoat has been with me since 2004, my second trip to the UK!"