AN EX-PAT who had her last family meal at the Tontine Hotel before emigrating in 1964 made a poignant return over 50 years on after discovering her late mum had kept the menu.

Alison Johnston, 67, emigrated to New Zealand with her family in 1964, when she was a young girl.

Before leaving Alison and her extended family went for a final get-together, a New Year' Day dinner at the Tontine.

She recently found the menu from the day out when she was sorting through her mum Margaret's belongings after she passed away.

Alison said: “We moved when I was just 12 because my dad worked in the shipyards.

“At the time I never really realised I wouldn’t be coming back to Greenock.

"It just seemed like a big adventure but I have missed it.

“Before we left we went for dinner at the Tontine.

"I always remember it being a fancy and special place to go.

"It was a treat and we all got dressed up for dinner.”

Alison was recently going through her mum's things when she found the menu.

She was already planning to travel back to Greenock to put her mum's ashes at the cemetery and decided to bring the menu along to the hotel and show staff.

She said: “I was surprised when I found it amongst her things because my mum wasn’t really a sentimental person.

“It brought back nice memories.

"I can still remember us having dinner here before we moved.”

As a surprise Alison’s daughter Kerensa booked for them to stay in the Tontine while in town.

Kerensa said: “I always remembered mum speaking about it as the place to be and how they only went for special occasions and I thought it might be nice.”

Alison added: “It was such a surprise to be booked in to stay at the Tontine, my daughter made my dream come true.

“The Tontine is just as I remember.

"The only thing which has changed is the bar where the men used to go.

"It is lovely to be back.

“The staff were surprised when I showed them the menu, it is a piece of the hotel’s history.

“There is a totally different menu now and the prices have changed but the food and the service are still as good as I remember.”