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Families can be driven apart for all manner of reasons.
My mum went away and didn't come back.
And when you do lose touch with your loved ones...
I never saw Kathleen again.
..finding them can take a lifetime.
I wonder where he is, I wonder what he's doing.
You don't really know where to begin.
Especially when they could be anywhere, at home or abroad.
And that's where the Family Finders come in.
Hi, it's the Salvation Army Family Tracing Service.
From international organisations...
There's never been a day when we have never had new enquiries.
..to genealogy detective agencies...
When is it you last had contact with him?
..and dedicated one-man bands.
I like to do searches that other people can't get,
cos it makes me feel good.
They hunt through history...
to bring families back together again.
You are my biological dad.
In this series, we follow the work of the Family Finders...
This case came from our Australian colleagues.
..learning the tricks they use to track missing relatives
I'm 68 years of age, she's 75 years of age and we're just starting off.
..and meeting the people whose lives they change along the way.
I said, "Well, this is your younger sister."
It's a miracle.
I was struck speechless, and I couldn't stop crying.
It's a proud moment for Dad.
...of finding my family.
Every year, thousands of people throughout the UK attempt to trace
Sometimes, all they have is a tiny scrap of information,
but charities and private agencies can help track people down.
Good afternoon, Family Tracing, how can I help?
Family break-up can put a huge distance between parents
and their children.
Divorce is a really
common reason for families to lose touch
with one another, like in this situation with Claire.
Her parents had separated when she was really young and they'd lost
contact completely, and that's why she was trying to find him.
Claire Seville is a photographer based in Birmingham.
She and her husband, Chance, have a seven-year-old daughter, Dylan,
and family life is very important to Claire.
But she never knew her own father.
When Dad left, I was three months old,
Sarah was about six,
so I've got no memories of him at all.
I was too little to know what was going on.
As a child, Claire always felt she was in some way responsible
for her dad's departure.
Mum never spoke about Dad. And if you asked about him,
it got shut down very quickly.
She also worried what her older sister, Sarah, thought.
I used to think when we were growing up...
that she thought it was my fault that he'd left because I was a new baby.
And because he left only three months after me being born,
I used to feel that maybe she thought it was my fault at that time.
I didn't have... You know, nothing had been said,
that was my own conclusion. I drew it myself growing up.
Claire may have no memories of her father, George,
but things are quite different for her sister, Sarah.
Remembering back to having Dad there, I was like his shadow.
Totally follow him anywhere and everywhere.
I really enjoyed being around him,
remember lots of things about him, erm...
and just spending time with him, really.
I always wanted to spend time with him and be with him.
I remember one picture of him, sort of, standing in Drayton Manor,
I think it was. I think the whole family had gone -
all the aunts and uncles and everything -
and it was kind of from a distance.
And he just looked like a guy with dark hair and a moustache,
sort of, '70s-style, but you couldn't really see his face.
But I didn't have any other pictures other than that.
And, quite a funny story, actually.
Because I'd got this image of this man with black hair and a moustache,
when I was about four, Mum took me on the bus to go into town
and the bus driver had dark hair and a moustache.
And I shouted at the top of my voice, "Are you my dad?"
And my mum died, she actually died a death
in front of a bus full of people that have just asked the bus driver
if he was my dad. But it was cos I'd got that image
of the moustache from the photo
that I just came out with it.
With their mum working, the girls spent a lot of time
with their grandparents, Helena and George.
When Mum and Dad split, we had very supportive grandparents.
Grandad's always been great, you know,
I never felt like I'd missed out at all with my dad not being around
cos I didn't know what it would be like.
So, sort of, Grandad was my dad to me, really.
And all the things that you do with your dad like play football
in the back garden and the gardening and all those kind of things,
I did with him.
And I didn't realise that it was strange that I was living
with my grandparents until I started senior school
and someone said, "Well, how come you live with your grandparents?"
And it was always being normal to me to be around them so much.
Cos we had, you know, grandparents that were there,
I don't think we felt the impact so much then.
I started to feel the impact more so when I was a teenager,
and realising that actually my family set-up was quite different
to my friends at school,
and realising that most people didn't have the grandad
that did everything that the dad normally did.
And then starting to remember things about my dad's family.
And I wonder what he's doing and if he remembers,
you know, being with us ever or if we're just completely forgotten.
The girls were happy growing up in Birmingham in the 1980s,
a life interrupted just once by the presence of their father.
The last time I saw my dad, I was ten, almost 11,
and it was a school open day for my secondary school,
so quite a bizarre set up, really,
because he obviously came with us all to my secondary school
to have a look round. So quite bizarre, really.
I remember being quite proud that he was there
and looking round the school with me
and thinking that the other kids would just look at us
as a normal family, yet I knew I hadn't seen him since I was six,
so that was quite bizarre, really.
I've only got one memory of my dad
and it... All I can remember is the back of his head.
He was having a shave in the bathroom
and I remember walking past the bathroom,
I must have only been about four,
seeing him there, but I didn't know who he was.
When Sarah was 15, she did try to get in touch with her father.
I did actually write to him.
I remember sending this letter with a stamped addressed envelope
saying, "If you don't want anything to do with me,
"then I can cope with that, but just send back the envelope empty
"and I'll know," and nothing ever came back, so I was kind of left
in limbo, not really knowing whether he cared or not.
So that was quite difficult.
After trying to contact their father without response,
the girls got on with their lives.
Both got married and had families of their own.
But they were always left wondering
whether their dad ever wanted to see them again.
A few years ago, something dawned on me and it was basically,
I don't know whether he's alive or dead.
And that had quite a big impact.
It does pull on the heartstrings to think that there is family out there
that should be part of your life and should know
what you're doing and support you and you be supporting them
but not to have any contact with them at all.
In many cases, people use traditional methods
to trace long-lost relatives.
But for Claire, the death of her grandparents left her longing
for a connection with her family.
In desperation, she tried to talk to her grandparents...
beyond the grave.
I actually went for a reading with a medium, erm...
You know, not everyone believes in it,
but after losing my two grandparents,
I felt like I needed to go and, sort of, connect with the other side,
and my dad's dad came through.
And he said that he wished he'd done more
and he wished that he'd pushed for us to have seen each other more,
but please don't give up and go and find him before it's too late.
And that really, sort of, spurred me on then
and I was determined that I was going to find him.
After starting with a fairly ethereal approach
to tracing her relatives,
Claire's now going down a more straightforward route
and has got in touch with a family finding agency.
These are the words that Claire sent to us.
"I would like to find my dad.
"He split with my mum when I was three months old,
"came back once when I was four, but I didn't really know who he was.
"I haven't seen him since, I don't know him at all
"or what it looks like.
"I feel like it's a part of who I am that's missing."
I always wondered where my dad was and, erm...
what his life was like now and whether he'd had more children.
That always, sort of, fascinated me,
that I might have half brothers and sisters somewhere.
This is a really, really typical response
from somebody who's trying to get back in touch with somebody
and these are the things they want to know.
If you imagine if you didn't know who your father was, or your mother,
and you wouldn't have any details about them at all,
you would want to know what they looked like,
if they look like you, if they were like you in any way
and things like that.
When Claire said that she'd gone ahead and found this tracing company
that were actually going to find him,
I, kind of, didn't think that they would.
I thought, "No, it probably won't happen,
"so I'm not going to worry too much about it at this stage."
She said to me that it was important that I found him
because I didn't know him and I hadn't got any memories.
I needed to meet him so I knew.
It's just...it's a big hole in my life that I know nothing about.
The information that Claire was able to come to us with was...
was quite a lot really compared to...what some people have.
She didn't think it was particularly much,
but from our point of view, it was really helpful information.
So Claire came to us with the name of the person
that she was looking for, which was George Saville.
She knew that he was about 63 years old,
that he came originally from Yorkshire
and that he had some brothers and sisters,
an older sister called Susan
and a much younger brother called John.
The next step in finding George
was to try and find a birth record for him.
What we came up with was a George Saville...
..born in Bradford in 1952.
Now, that puts him exactly the age of the person
that we were looking for.
And we could also see that there was only one person
called George Saville born in or around 1952.
So only one person who would be the right age
for the George Saville we were looking for.
When we looked closer at his birth record,
we found his mother's maiden surname, which was Edmondson.
We cross-referenced other birth records with the surname Saville
where the mother's maiden surname was Edmondson
and found an older sister called Susan
and a younger brother called John.
So we knew that it fit, it fit the person that we were looking for,
so we're absolutely confident we've found the right birth record.
They sent a letter to this George Saville
but if they're to be reunited with their father,
they now need him to respond.
Not everyone uses specialist search agencies to find their family.
Many try searching themselves.
People like Ray Martin, for example.
Ray was born in 1957 and grew up in Newcastle
with the people he thought were his natural parents.
Ray loved his childhood in '60s Newcastle.
His family were part of the mining community
but the industry was in decline and they had to leave.
Despite his brief time in Newcastle,
Ray formed a strong bond with the city.
I was only in Newcastle till the age of 11...
..and then I left.
At the time, I remember, I cried my eyes out.
It was, it was very... At that time, at that age, it was very tearful.
In those days, in 1969, the actual...
the pits up north were closing.
The only place which was for the coalface
was places like Nottingham.
You know, the decision was made, we moved down to Nottingham.
Initially, Ray enjoyed his new life in his new home.
Yeah, we used to have some fun and games.
Local village kids played the other local village kids at football.
But one night, at the age of 14, his world was turned on its head.
There was an argument. You know, you can hear the voices downstairs
in the kitchen and I just happened to be on the stairs at the time.
And then, as you do when you're at that age,
you think you want to listen, you want to be nosy and find out
what is actually happening.
Me auntie there says,
"You took him on, you adopted him."
And as soon as I heard that,
as I was sitting on the stairs, it just...
you know what I mean? It just, bang!
And it was a shock. It just seemed like you were in a cocoon after that.
You're oblivious to what was going around you,
you just... Soon as you heard that, it was just shock
and you were just, "What?"
Ray had found out he was adopted in one of the worst ways imaginable,
and life would never be the same again.
The young Ray was left with lots of questions,
but his adoptive mother, Violet, wouldn't give him any information
about his background.
She wouldn't say nothing because as far...in her eyes,
I was her child, and that's how she looked at it.
So you can imagine, there was no questions.
She'd done the best and I was quite happy
for what she was giving to me and the surrounding people around me.
But at 16, Ray was ready to leave home.
He joined the Army and had a family of his own.
It wasn't until his adoptive mum, Violet, died
that he felt able to begin the search for his birth mother.
What I wanted to do is I wanted to meet me mother,
me birth mother.
I wanted to see how she felt.
Because I know in myself that for any woman to give up a child
for any reason, it is hard, it's got to be hard.
So that's why I wanted to meet.
Let her, in her own time, tell me what I wanted to know.
All he had to go on was his mother's name,
Maureen Robinson, from a scrap of paperwork.
Me birth mother, Maureen Robinson,
she had me christened...
at Wallsend St Luke's church
but it wasn't much to go on, really.
You know, it was difficult and, like, a needle in a haystack.
Ray and his wife wrote letters to lots of different Maureen Robinsons
and did all they could to find her,
but by his late 40s, Ray gave up hope
and decided to stop looking for his mum.
It's demoralising when you think about it
because it's something which you want to close your book.
And yet you will never get the end of that book...
if them pages are missing.
Ray concentrated on bringing up his own family.
But his son, Alan, had witnessed his dad's search for his birth mother
while he was growing up. And when he was old enough,
Alan decided his dad shouldn't give up hope
and restarted the search for Ray's mum.
What I really wanted to...
provide my dad was the answers to his questions.
Alan was born in the digital age and had the tenacity and the know-how
to take on the task.
Part of it is the person that I am as well - I love a challenge.
Erm, you know. And what more of a challenge than
something that somebody else couldn't solve.
What also changed was it was the age of the internet
and various other tools that are out there.
Despite all the years of searching,
Alan's dad, Ray, hadn't left him with much to go on.
The information we had was
purely just his mother's name.
Unfortunately, it's a very common name up in Newcastle
and we had no date of birth, which is the tricky thing.
So Alan decided to guess his grandmother's date of birth.
Genes Reunited played a key part,
many evenings were spent searching for births, marriages, deaths,
and a lot of information was gathered.
Lists of people's names who were potential matches.
By searching the marriage records,
Alan found 16 potential Maureen Robinsons
who got married around that age in Newcastle.
Armed with his list of potential grandmothers,
it was time to leave Essex and head north.
The next step was a field trip to Newcastle
in the hope that we could go up there and find
who else she lived with at the time and work backwards from there.
Alan searched through the electoral rolls
but failed to come up with any new information
until a crucial meeting with social services finally revealed
exactly why his father had been put up for adoption.
I suppose for you it was quite nice to gain an answer
to one of the questions of why you were given up.
Yeah, that's right. What we were told was it wasn't just like,
open the door, kick the backside and that was it.
It wasn't like that, it was totally different.
It was due to illness within the family, and that's the reason why.
Those days and times in the '50s,
when a member of the family's ill,
-it's hard for them to keep the family going.
Erm, and so that was the best option
and when I got adopted out to me birth mother's best friend.
Most intriguingly of all, Ray had always thought he was an only child,
but on the paperwork, there was a hint
that he might even have siblings.
They wasn't sure at the time how many it was, but, I think,
there was an indication that there was other siblings,
brothers and sisters.
And, I think, when you're on your own -
you've been brought up on your own as an only child -
and you find out that there's more than one of yous,
yeah, it's a certain shock to the system.
But a good one at that, anyway.
And the adoption papers held one final critical clue.
Ray's father's surname was Robson, a common name in Newcastle
but at least it was a name.
How I felt was, "Oh, we're getting closer."
"We're getting closer to trying to find a family and that."
Armed with this new information, Alan checked the 16 marriages
involving a Maureen Robinson, and one of them came good.
Luck has it that there was one that had Robson as the surname.
Erm, so that was the first...that was the first point,
it was let's order it, let's order that marriage certificate...
and see what comes back.
Only by matching up the signatures on the marriage certificate
and the adoption papers would they know for sure
that this was Ray's mother.
But for now, all they could do was wait for the certificates to arrive.
In Birmingham, Claire Seville's dad, George,
left home when she was just three months old.
But now, just two days after sending a letter to the man they think
may be Claire's father,
a family finding agency has received a phone call.
I spoke with him, asked if he believed that the letter,
the details related to him. He confirmed that they did.
I asked him if he'd ever been married,
he confirmed the name of the person that he'd been married to,
which was Claire's mum, so I knew that we definitely had
the right person.
Once I told George that it was his daughter Claire
who was trying to find him, he was really shocked.
But he did say that he was pleased,
and one of the first things he said to me was that he thinks
it's something he should have done himself a long time ago.
I was away on holiday when Dave from FinderMonkey phoned me.
He said to me, "Claire we've made contact with the George Saville."
And I said, "Yes." And he went through a few more details.
And he said,
"He is your dad and he knows exactly who you are
"and he wants to see you."
I just burst into tears.
I know the day that Claire actually got the phone call
to say that you had found him was a really emotional day for Claire
but I, kind of, felt numb, I didn't really know whether to be happy,
sad, indifferent. I just...just didn't know.
There was definitely a part of me that thought
he won't want to be in touch,
you know, he's not got in touch previously.
And then there's that whole fear of rejection.
But equally, I thought, well, maybe it was his fear of rejection
that he hadn't made the time to get in touch with us.
Sarah's mixed emotions and unanswered questions remain.
But for Claire, it'll be the first time she's ever seen her dad.
I've not even thought about what he's going to look like,
what he's going to sound like or anything like that
until Sarah discussed it with me the day and said,
"Oh, you know he's got a really northern accent, don't you?"
And I was like, "Well, no, I don't even know."
He's, kind of, the man without a voice and a face to me.
I'm not saying that there won't be a few tears off me,
but, I think, for Claire,
actually physically seeing her dad for the very first time
is just going to probably blow her away to be honest.
Sarah's always said to me growing up, "You're just like Dad,
"you're just like Dad.
"You really look like him." So,
you know, for me to actually meet him and see whether I do look like him
will be very interesting.
Over 100 miles to the north,
the arrival of the letter from the Family Finders
was the first news George had had of his daughters
in nearly three decades.
One morning, I had a letter through the post,
and it was handwritten.
So, when I opened it up, it was a letter from a company
And it basically said, "We are trying to trace a person
"called George Saville, who was born in 1952.
"He has a sister called Susan and a brother called John."
And so you think, "That's me."
For George, the letter was a bridge to a past
he thought he'd lost forever.
I met Sarah and Claire's mother in a nightclub
in the centre of Birmingham called the Dolce Vita.
I remember it well, yeah.
We got married in 19..71
and then Sarah came not long after that.
And then, obviously, Claire came along after, yeah.
When the girls were growing up in Birmingham,
George was a young policeman.
At that time, it was a really good job.
There was a good camaraderie between the guys.
But the nature of the job meant George wasn't around for his family
as much as he would have liked.
Obviously, being in the police, I worked shifts,
so it was... That was difficult because you're...
here, there and... You know, it wasn't really stable,
it was up and down and not there on a sort of regular basis.
Unfortunately, yeah, we had a break-up,
erm, and I decided that...
..I wanted to leave Birmingham, I wanted to go back to...
back up to Bradford where I came from.
Claire was only a young baby
and maybe Sarah was probably about six years old at the time, yeah.
So, yeah, very traumatic time and sad and...
I couldn't...I didn't get on with the mother.
Things weren't very good at home.
Having remarried and relocated to Bradford, in Yorkshire,
it became difficult for George to include the offspring
of a troubled marriage he wanted to forget.
I think, yeah, you...
..put the past behind you.
And I'd got another wife.
And I've often thought that...
Yeah, I should have been the one to get in touch.
Missed a lot, I missed so much.
And they have as well, yeah.
It's only when you start to reflect as an adult
of all the things that he should have been there for
that you realise the impact of him not being there.
I've always been quite a strong person, so I've always been,
"Well, I don't need him for anything.
"He's never been there, so it doesn't really matter."
But the older I get and the more I look at things and think,
"Well, he wasn't there when I got married,
"he wasn't there at my graduation,
"he wasn't there at the boys' christenings," you know,
that kind of thing, you start to realise then that, actually,
yes, I've missed out on having him around,
but he's missed out on loads by not being here.
Everybody has missed an awful lot, everybody.
Yeah, both families.
It could have been...
a lot different, a lot better, yeah.
So many special family moments may have been missed,
but now it's time to make new memories.
Today, Sarah and Claire are on their way to see a father
who hasn't been part of their lives for 33 years.
With such a momentous reunion, inevitably there are mixed emotions
and thoughts swirling around their heads.
For me, initially, it's...how does Dad look now?
You know, do I remember him, are my memories as good
as I think they are?
For me, just meeting him.
The biggest thing for me now is just to actually meet my dad properly
for the first time, knowing who he is,
knowing that he's my dad and seeing if we can build from this.
There's an awful lot to catch up with from my side and theirs, so...
..be just good to find out how things are at the moment...
..and then slowly go back,
go back in time...
..and...yeah, learn all about them
and what their lives have been like.
For you, I think, with the rejection -
when you wrote the letter - that you felt then,
I know that it hurt you at that point.
For whatever reason, he didn't get back to you.
And I think for you, you put it to bed then.
Yeah, I did. I absolutely did.
-And I think that's what I thought the result would be...
..when you said that they had found him.
-I thought we were going to have the same thing again.
Yeah, it's quite a big call to realise the fact that,
yeah, I've got two daughters, I've always known about them...
..but now I've got three grandchildren
and two son-in-law, two son-in-laws
all...all to get to know, if...if they want to know me.
George and his daughters are just minutes away
from fixing three decades of absence and heartache.
I am extremely nervous, you know,
I admit that. I'm just...
I don't know what to expect and... Yeah.
But I'm looking forward to it, I'm sure it's going to be
really positive, yeah.
-We've got each other.
-And we both have the same feelings.
Oh, dear me, here we go.
Have a deep breath.
I've gone all hot.
With just moments to go to the reunion,
soon Claire and Sarah will see their father again.
Understandably, feelings are running high.
CLAIRE CRIES SOFTLY
It's all right, don't worry.
So emotional. I always knew that I'd know them,
I knew that I'd recognise them again, even after all that time.
-Hello, Dad. You all right?
-It's really good to see you.
-I'm crying all over you.
-It doesn't matter.
I tried to keep it together, but I failed miserably.
But I'm just so happy to finally see him and know what he looks like.
-Yeah, it's good to see you.
-And you, yeah.
-It's really good.
Yeah, both of you.
-It's been too long.
I was really worried that he wouldn't be anything like
I remembered, but instantly, the minute he walked through the door,
I thought, "Yes, I'd know him anywhere."
For George, this isn't just a reunion but a chance to explain.
I left it far too long.
There's still time though, Dad. There's still plenty of time.
-There's always time.
You're very forgiving.
It is heartbreaking when your own father says, you know,
that he feels guilty about it.
I don't think anybody should feel guilty in this situation.
It's quite difficult when you...
you start something new.
You know, other people you try and keep them happy and...
..really you shouldn't, you should just do your own thing.
-I'm not trying to blame anybody else.
It's always been down to me.
When you think back, you just think, you know,
"I should have done things differently."
When he's telling us how bad he felt about how things turned out
and the fact that he wasn't here for whatever reason,
I just felt really, really sad for him that he felt like that.
You know, I'm not angry with him at all, just happy that he's here now.
And I think probably now is the right time for him to be in our lives.
Sarah wants to ask her dad about the letter she wrote to him
when she was 15.
Did Nan ever tell you that I tried to contact you
when I was a teenager?
-No, I didn't think the message had got through.
-I spoke to her on the phone and asked her...
-..if you would ring me.
And then I sent you a letter to Nan's address.
Maybe she just thought it was better that, you know, it stayed as it was.
Sarah, when she was a teenager, she did make a phone call
and did write a letter to my mother...
I didn't know anything about it,
I don't know, maybe my mother was trying to protect me
for some reason or other, I've no idea,
but I...I never saw the letter.
Yeah, my mother unfortunately was her own character and very strong.
And I realise that, obviously, he never got the letter,
he wasn't told that I'd called, by my nan.
Obviously, she had her reasons, I'll never know what they are.
Relief as well because it means that he just didn't
reject me out of hand, which I thought he had done
for all these years.
I've gained so much in such a short space of time.
Yeah, you don't know how much it means.
What a fool I've been. And I've missed out on so much,
but hopefully from now on...
..we'll have a great relationship,
er, and they've got their dad back and I've got my two daughters back.
I'm just so, so happy about it.
-It's good to see your face again.
-I've missed you.
And I've missed you too, an awful lot.
They've all missed out on so many significant moments over the years.
But thanks to the Family Finders, George, Claire and Sarah
can now look forward to sharing the rest of their lives together.
In Newcastle, Ray Martin and his son, Alan,
are finally close to a breakthrough in their search for Ray's mother.
All they needed to do was see if her signature on a marriage certificate
matched the one on Ray's adoption papers.
The marriage certificate came back.
Comparing the signature of what was on the marriage certificate
to the adoption paper, was exactly the same.
And that was like the eureka moment. It was like, "Yes, finally!"
And from that marriage certificate we have her date of birth...
And just, you know, it was...it was incredible.
But the joy was mixed with sadness as Ray soon discovered
that his birth mother, Maureen, had died 20 years earlier.
You tend to feel a bit down on that one
because they're the people which you would like to ask questions to
because of what happened in the past.
But, yeah, you know, that was a...
That was the downer on that side.
But while the news of his mother's death was a huge disappointment,
Ray also discovered that he has lots of new siblings.
I never forget the day when the social worker told me,
she said, "I've got some good news for you." And I says, "Yeah?"
She said, "Yeah, I've just managed to track one of your sisters down."
I said, "What?" She said, "Yeah." She said, "I've been speaking to her,
"and she's excited...she's excited as well."
And she said, "It's not just one or two,
"there's six of yous in total."
I was gobsmacked.
And she said, "Are you all right?" She said, "You're not driving?"
I said, "No, I'm not driving, I'm parked up
"but if I was driving, I probably would have shot through
"this lady's hedge and straight in and sitting in her own living room
"with me car."
It was now down to Ray to pick up the phone
and talk to one of the five brothers and sisters he never knew he had.
So, I was round Alan's and I said, "Right."
And I just sat there for a few minutes and everybody's going...
They were excited, they were going,
"Are you going to make this phone call? Come on, are you going...?"
I said, "Yes, I'm going to make the phone call, don't worry."
And I do believe at the time Alan went into the cupboard
and got a small glass of whiskey.
He said, "That's just to calm your nerves." I said, "I'm fine."
And the thing about it is, I was fine with it.
Picked the phone up, I was sitting on the table in the kitchen there.
I rang it up and they were looking like this, you know. I said, "Hello?"
I says, "Is that you, Sylvia?"
She said, "Yeah." "It's Ray." "Ohhh!"
You can imagine what it was like, she was ecstatic.
It was lovely, you know what I mean?
And we talked on that phone like we've known each other for years.
It must have been about an hour or so, or a bit more.
We didn't bother about what the phone bill was, it's just...
It was brilliant, it was fantastic.
For Ray, this was another unexpected turning point in his life.
Out of the blue, a whole new group of brothers and sisters.
Ray's met his new siblings already,
but today he's made the trip up to Newcastle
to see them all for a very special occasion.
Oh, Hi, Richard, you all right?
Happily, the news they had another brother has been welcomed warmly
by all of Ray's new siblings.
We're just shocked, we were just happy, we was everything together.
It was amazing, really amazing.
Hello, how are you?
50...50-odd years is a long time.
53, 54 years not seeing your brother for all them years.
Richard used to always say, "One day he will be back in the family."
Ray may never have met his mother, but his brother always knew
how she felt about putting Ray up for adoption
at just three months old.
Raymond was actually sent off
to one of me mum's best friends
because at the time me mum couldn't actually...
It wasn't so much she couldn't afford to look after him,
it was just that ill health was preventing things.
And Ray actually went to Violet's, which was my mum's best friend.
And, obviously, it was a hard thing for my mum to do,
by letting Violet keep him.
And, obviously, it's hard for any mother to let...
..their kids go.
Violet couldn't have kids of her own
and she got attached to our Raymond when he was little.
And, obviously, from there...from then on, I never seen Ray.
Ray's mother had contracted tuberculosis, or TB,
a disease which affects the lungs and respiratory system.
Highly contagious, TB for years had been one of the main causes of death
And even at the time of Ray's birth, in 1957,
it killed nearly 5,000 people a year.
In the late 1950s, there were various cures and vaccines
in development. But at this time, the NHS was only eight years old
and the welfare state still in its infancy.
One of the most common treatments,
especially in poorer parts of the UK,
was to be taken to a sanatorium, which was sometimes run by nuns.
These places of rest were often in the countryside,
where fresh air and relaxation were the order of the day.
If this treatment didn't work, there were various surgical procedures
available to attempt to remove the infection from a patient's lungs.
While his mother was in the sanatorium, a three-month-old Ray
and his brothers were looked after by friends.
And then, feeling unable to cope with a young baby while in recovery,
his mother gave him up for adoption.
It wasn't by choice that my mum wanted to do it,
but she had a hard decision to make, and she made it.
She did regret it the rest of her life,
cos, obviously, she had Ray on her mind,
she had the other kids on her mind.
And as time went past...
..she still, she had crying sessions at weekends
and days through the week, things like that.
At the end of the day, whose mother wouldn't?
Ray's oldest brother, Jim, died in a motorcycle accident
when he was in his 30s.
And only months after Ray's reunion with his family,
a second brother, Brian, died of a heart attack.
Sometimes, discovering a whole new family
means having to say goodbye to some of them.
And today, Ray and his remaining brother, Richie, are planting a tree
in Brian's memory in the front garden of his house
where his widow Bev still lives.
I think that should be all right.
That's for you, son.
Yeah, I think we've done a good job there.
There you go, Bev.
That's for you, so...
..when the times you come out in the morning, you can...
look at the tree and, as we know, Brian used to look out the window,
so I think this was an appropriate thing.
The right tree, the right place...
-For the guy.
-For a nice guy.
We all know who he is, we're all family.
-And, Bev...it's all yours.
You know, I think it's a good tribute.
A good tribute to...
I mean, we lost other members of the family as well.
Unfortunately, I couldn't be there to see Mam, Dad, James.
I saw Brian for a certain length of time.
But I think, overall,
erm, we started the journey...
and I think now...
we've got the end of the journey.
I got what I wanted.
It's been hard in more ways than one.
And all I hope
that, if this helps others to find their siblings,
their family, then...
..for me, it's sweet, absolutely sweet.