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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 the searches 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 through time...
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.
That was the start of finding my family.
Across the UK, there are a range of family-finding organisations
who will trace your relatives for a small fee.
Often people who have lost contact through being fostered out
at a young age, they often contact us
and want to be back in touch with their siblings.
But you don't always have to use a specialist agency.
Many people do some DIY genealogy to find their relatives.
Nowadays, you sit down at your computer, you click the mouse
and, hopefully, the computer will do the searching for you.
Which is exactly how Jonathan Fryer was traced by his family.
Jonathan was adopted at the age of 18 months.
I was born in June 1950, in Manchester, and grew up
in Eccles, which is part of Salford, now part of Greater Manchester.
And I was adopted into a family and had an older adopted sister.
My adoptive family never made any attempt to hide the fact
I was adopted and so, really, from the earliest age
I knew that I wasn't really their child.
Jonathan never felt part of the family.
I very much felt like a fish out of water.
Although it was materially very comfortable
and I'm sure they tried to provide everything that they could for me,
there was a real disconnect between me
and, particularly, my adopted father, who was much older.
He was quite far right wing, quite intolerant
and, from a very early age, I had my mind open to the wider world.
Despite the openness with which he learnt of his adoption,
Jonathan was unable to discover any of the details.
One of the most frustrating things, which really made me very angry
as a child, was that I knew that my adopted parents had met my mother.
They refused point-blank to tell me who she was.
My adopted mother just said one time, "Oh, nobody special."
And this really ate me up inside. It became a real bone of contention.
I was angry about it, but they were even angrier.
My adopted father said, "You mustn't keep asking, you mustn't.
"You're so ungrateful."
When I said, "Surely there must be some documents or something,"
they said, "No, we've destroyed everything. You'll never find out."
And when I was 13, my adopted father actually said,
"I wish I hadn't adopted you."
I said, "Well, I agree."
And that was one of the very few times we ever agreed about anything.
Jonathan became increasingly emotionally distant.
It was an enormous void in my life, not knowing who my mother was,
but knowing she existed. That was really frustrating.
If you don't know who you are,
if you haven't had that contact with your mother who, perhaps,
is the most significant person in your life.
At 18, Jonathan left home to become a journalist.
But not just any journalist -
he opted to cover the biggest story of the age.
Things had got so bad at home that I was determined to leave and,
because Vietnam was the big issue of the day,
I rang up the Manchester Evening News
and they said, "We'll give you a letter of accreditation
"and if we like the stuff that you send, then we will print it
"and pay you the normal freelance rate."
So, I packed a suitcase and, at age 18, travelled by train
all the way through Eastern Europe, right across the Soviet Union,
then by boats all the way down the east coast of Asia
and ended up in Vietnam.
Fortunately, the Manchester Evening News
did like what I wrote and my career was launched.
Forging ahead in his new role as a foreign correspondent,
Jonathan put thoughts of his adoption to the back of his mind.
Then, in 1975, the law regarding adoption documentation changed,
allowing all adoptees over the age of 18 to access their records.
I realised there was now a possibility to do
a bit of detective work and to find out who I really am.
Before this act was passed in November 1975, a promise
of lifelong confidentiality was given to birth parents and families.
Subsequent changes to the adoption act have opened up records
to people which has allowed them to trace their birth parents
and find out more about their ancestry,
which is something that's quite common -
that people feel that they need to find out where they really came from.
Jonathan was now finally able to obtain
his original birth certificate for the first time.
I'll never forget the day it arrived because it arrived
through the post - this is months after I'd started this process.
And I opened it and there, suddenly,
was a completely different set of names
and I was no longer Jonathan Harold Fryer,
which I never really felt I was, but Graeme Leslie Morton.
-And, suddenly, there was my mother's name.
And I felt a huge relief.
It was very emotional.
When you've wanted to know for years...
And, suddenly, there it was - Joyce Morton, formerly Ashcroft,
with an address. Who was the father? Just a black line.
And this was really the key to open the door to the paper trail.
Months of research at the National Register Office revealed
Jonathan also had an older half-sister.
Another piece of the jigsaw had been put in, but it's not a jigsaw that
you do overnight. It's a jigsaw you can take months or even years to do.
In my case, it was years.
Because, actually, each piece that's put in wrenches you.
It's exciting, but it's also very difficult.
Jonathan's birth certificate stated the address his mother
had lived at when he was born.
So, he took the train from London to Manchester, in the hope
someone might know where she was now.
I came up alone and found this street
and the house over there, where she had lived.
And it took me a few minutes to pluck up the courage
to knock on the door and, then, of course, there was nobody there.
I went to the house next door
and there was a very nice elderly lady there who invited me in.
And she said, "Oh, I remember her very well.
"She was a very beautiful young woman with a great eye
"for a man in uniform." And I thought, "Great.
"Sounds just the sort of woman I would have loved."
I was sad, as well, because one half of me
had really hoped that this would be an opportunity to meet her.
And the most disappointing thing was when the neighbour,
although she remembered her very well, said she moved away years ago.
No idea where she was and, so, I thought the chance of ever
tracking her down would be extremely remote.
There was something at the back of me sort of saying,
"Well, if my mother knew where I was, knew who'd adopted me,
"maybe she would have got in touch, if she wanted to."
Having, in a sense,
been rejected, I just couldn't bear to go through that again.
And so I didn't follow it up any more.
With nowhere left to go, Jonathan gave up his search.
But little did he know that someone else was already looking for him.
Occasionally, the unsung heroes in uniting family members
are those working in their daily jobs who take a little extra time
to use their expertise and help make the connections where others cannot.
I look after the cemetery for Ongar Town Council.
We arrange burials, interment of cremated remains,
and, occasionally, we get enquiries about people
looking for relatives who are researching family history.
Town clerk Judith Cook helped Christine St Aubyn in her search
for the family she'd never known.
It's really message in a bottle stuff.
You might as well put a message in a bottle and chuck it in the sea
for the odds of this happening to us.
The story begins when Christine's grandmother, Rose,
left her home in Ongar, Essex, for a new life in Australia in 1919.
She married an Australian soldier
and then emigrated to Australia as a war bride.
Like many women of her generation after World War I, Rose married
a foreign serviceman and left home for a new life in the colonies.
She wasn't very warmly welcomed because, of course,
the Australian girls weren't very keen on the English girls
pinching their blokes.
So, when they arrived in Port Melbourne,
all the English brides were pelted.
There was a Brockhoff's Biscuits bakery, as it happened,
very near the wharf and the girls that worked there came out
and pelted these poor English girls with biscuits
and swore at them and didn't make them very welcome at all.
Rose settled in Melbourne and had two daughters,
Christine's mum June and her older sister Beryl.
My nana taught us about family values and how important family is.
'Christine and her husband Paul, sister Jan
'and dad Bill all remember Nana Rose fondly.'
She was still cooking roast dinners at 90...what? 96.
And she would still do the beans.
Mum took over the roast dinner, but Nana would sit there and do the beans.
Nana was just there, the whole time.
She lived with us, she came on holidays with us.
She lived till she was over 100. And she adored all of us, as we did her.
Very much a part of my childhood and my adulthood.
And not only looked after me, but looked after my children, as well.
She was wonderful.
Christine and her mother June
always wanted to know about their family in England.
But Nana Rose divulged very little to them.
Nana was a really private person
and she really had put her English life behind her.
It turned out that, before Rose met her Australian serviceman,
she'd been married to an English man named Richard.
The events surrounding this marriage may explain why Rose started
a new life abroad and also her reticence to discuss
her previous life in England.
That was her love, really. That was her first love. And he was...
They were married in the morning and he went to the war,
over to France, in the afternoon and he was never seen again.
It's very, very sad.
I've got love letters from Richard to Rosie. She kept the letters.
She would have been 17, at this point.
They've been written quite close together.
This one was dated June 1st, 1915,
which was just before he was deployed to France.
While it's understandable that Rose would find it hard
to talk about this period of her past,
for Christine, it's meant a lifetime of not knowing
where she came from or who her English family were.
I grew up close to my other aunts and uncles, so...
..it's a little bit sad, in a way.
Christine and her mother June tried to find out what they could.
She wrote to various people, but in the days
when Mum was looking, there wasn't any internet.
It was actually quite difficult to trace back.
All they had to go on were a handful of photographs Nana Rose
had of her previous life.
-Were was... Where did you find these photos?
-Nana had these.
And I believe that that's Nana and Winifred.
One photo was of her as a child in 1899 with her sister Winifred,
who died, not long after the photo was taken, of diphtheria,
a highly-infectious childhood disease.
The second photo was of a home-made memorial cross
lying in an Essex graveyard, in remembrance of little Winifred.
It was a cross that was hand-carved by my great-grandfather
for his little girl - Nana's sister -
who had died at four years of age.
That photo has since been lost, but Christine still remembers
the inscription Winifred's father had written on the cross.
Her father had carved, "Is it well with the child? It is well."
A quote from the Bible,
this simple inscription had great resonance with Christine.
Nana Rose died in 1998, aged 100.
There was money in her will for Mum and Dad to bring me back to the UK.
Keen to make a connection with their English past,
but with no known living relatives to visit,
they made a pilgrimage to the graveyard
in Rose's hometown of Ongar.
That's when I first saw the little hand-carved cross.
We spent a lot of time just sitting there,
just trying to absorb the atmosphere.
This little baby Winifred... she was my great-aunt.
And I sat there for quite a long time, just beside her,
because no-one had been remembering her for a very long time.
So I was pleased to be the one to be doing it
and remembering this little precious soul.
Feeling a profound sense of loss for her English family,
Christine felt moved to leave a note,
thanking ground staff for preserving the little cross.
I popped the note under the gardener's door
and I really thought that I would never hear back from that.
The note Christine left also asked
for any information on other family members
and it was the beginning of a remarkable series of events.
The postcard found its way to the desk of Judith Cook,
deputy clerk at Ongar Town Council.
"Thank you for caring for the small wooden cross
"leaning against the tree.
"It belongs to Winifred Holt,
"who died of diphtheria at about four years of age, around the 1890s.
"The cross was made by her father, Ephram Holt, my great-grandfather.
"If you have any more information on this family, I would appreciate it.
"Christine St Aubyn."
I'm quite interested in history, anyway,
so to be able to help other people with their family history is lovely.
At the time that I looked in the cemetery records,
I couldn't find her.
The handwriting is quite old and of an old-fashioned style.
But then, in September that year, I had a call from Mr Matthews,
who was also looking for the same little girl.
And because they were within a few months of each other,
the name rang a bell and I remembered who it was.
I looked again and I did find her in our burial records.
Just the fact that they were looking for the same little girl
within a couple of months of each other,
that was the strange coincidence for me.
Judith e-mailed me back and said,
"You'll never guess - somebody else is looking for this family,
"and particularly for this baby."
This extraordinary coincidence would lead to Christine making the journey back to the UK once again.
Finding relatives or ancestors overseas can be
a hard and daunting task,
so here's some advice on how to go about it.
Start by looking at the immigration and emigration records in the UK,
which are available at the National Archives.
These often provide key information,
such as date of arrival or departure,
date and place of birth, marital status, children,
occupation and the names of parents.
Having these details should give you a solid base
and direction for moving your search abroad.
If you do decide to travel overseas,
it's a good idea to comb the internet first
for other people's experiences of tracing in that country.
This will save you time once on the ground.
it may be that you don't have to leave the country, at all.
Many records are available online
and in the internet age, it's easier than ever
to connect with people from around the world
from the comfort of your living room.
Jonathan Fryer was adopted as a baby in the 1950s,
but he was never given any details.
I knew that my adopted parents had met my mother.
They refused point-blank to tell me who she was.
When I said, "Surely there must be some documents or something?"
They said, "No, we've destroyed everything.
"You will never find out."
As an adult, he obtained his birth certificate
and discovered his real name.
I was no longer Jonathan Harold Fryer -
which I never really felt I was -
but Graeme Leslie Morton.
And he finally discovered who his real mother was.
-Suddenly, there was my mother's name.
And this was really the key to open the door to the paper trail.
But it wasn't just his mum he'd found -
Jonathan also discovered he had a half-sister,
but fearing rejection,
he abandoned all hope of ever making contact
with any of his birth family.
Having, in a sense, been rejected,
I just couldn't bear to go through that again.
But what he didn't know was that his half-sister Denise
was also looking for him.
I have always known about him.
I can't remember a time that me mother sat down
and told me about him, but I've just always known about Jonathan.
Denise was born just after the end of World War II.
I was born in 1945, in Irlam, near Manchester.
Shortly after, my mother and father moved to Bristol.
And we lived there for a year and then we came back.
My mother and I came back on the train
and my father never appeared for Christmas
and I never saw him again after that.
Me mother and I lived with my grandparents in Irlam
for the next nine, ten years.
During that time, she obviously had a relationship with someone,
who, unfortunately, I don't know much about,
and found that she was pregnant.
She felt that there was no way that she could bring shame on the family
by staying at home. So as soon as she started to show, that was it.
She went away to a home for unmarried mothers.
From what she said, it sounded like a dreadful life there.
They weren't treated well. They had to scrub floors,
clean windows, worked all day
and were really made to feel as though they had to be punished
because they were unmarried mothers.
In 1950s Britain,
falling pregnant out of wedlock was very much a scandal.
It was very much frowned upon. Your family might be quite ashamed of it.
The local community would talk about it
and it was something that needed to be hidden away.
And so people were sent away to mother and baby homes,
where they could have a baby in secret
and then return to normal life afterwards.
A Victorian invention,
as late as 1968, there were still 172 mother and baby homes in the UK.
A lot of these homes were run by religious institutions
and day-to-day reality was often harsh.
There was really a feeling of being punished for what they had done.
In some mother and baby homes,
women were exposed to very poor conditions.
They were in buildings that were in need of upkeep,
they were cold, they were forced to share bedrooms
where they might not have done when they'd been at home.
For some women, being in mother and baby homes wasn't an easy task.
They were taken in late in their pregnancies
and they had to work long days doing really quite hard tasks
that would have been backbreaking at the best of times,
let alone when heavily pregnant.
Soon after giving birth, the women would return to their home towns
and their babies would be adopted, making traceability incredibly hard.
You find that women are having babies
in areas they don't really know
and sometimes the information that's given on those babies
and the mothers is incorrect or incomplete.
Whilst today, for us, it seems just a horrific thought,
having to be sent away to the other side of the country
and have a baby in secret and shame,
it was actually providing ladies with a way of sorting out
the problem that they had got themselves into.
Despite the difficult decision Joyce had made, ultimately,
she may have felt that it would give the young Jonathan
the chance of a better life.
She felt as though she couldn't afford to keep a child
and offer another child any sort of a life,
so she thought she was doing the best by Jonathan,
by letting him be adopted by a couple
that she thought would give him everything that she couldn't.
She was so sorry that she couldn't have kept him
and that we couldn't have been a family together.
It's something that I don't think you ever get over.
Denise's mother Joyce later remarried
and Denise and her younger half-sister Gill
grew up in the corner shop their parents ran in the town of Eccles.
The shop was not far from where Jonathan lived and went to school.
She used to go to the school gates to see him leaving or arriving.
Just being able to see Jonathan made her feel better.
I think Mum really kept watch over him
until, probably, he went to grammar school.
She knew that he'd got a scholarship to Manchester Grammar,
which thrilled her to bits.
However strong her emotional connection to Jonathan,
Joyce didn't want to run the risk of upsetting his stable childhood.
I think me mum felt guilty all her life, really.
She was glad that he had a good life.
She didn't want to interfere in it,
because she wouldn't have wanted to ruin any part of his life.
Decades later and with her mother now in the later years of her life,
Denise felt it was time to try and track Jonathan down.
Before Mother passed away,
I wanted to find Jonathan,
because I knew Mum would have loved to have known what he was doing.
When we first got computers,
we were on various sites looking for birth details.
I didn't tell her that I was searching,
because I didn't want her to be upset if we couldn't find him.
I just wanted to surprise her and, unfortunately,
I didn't get the chance to do that,
because I looked and looked and couldn't find
any details of him, at all.
While Denise knew about Jonathan, her younger sister Gillian did not.
I just assumed that me mother had told her everything about Jonathan,
just as she'd told me,
and it wasn't until last year that we realised
that Gillian didn't know anything about Jonathan.
It was only when Denise's daughter rang Gillian,
in the course of doing the family tree,
that Gillian learnt of Jonathan's existence.
She said, "I need to ask you something.
"I've been meaning to ask you for ages and ages and I keep forgetting.
"Do you ever think about Jonathan?"
I said, "Well, Jonathan who?"
And she said, "Your brother, Jonathan!"
"I haven't got a brother...
"or have I?
"I think you'd better put your mum on.
The latest generation of internet search engines
meant Gill could find Jonathan online in no time at all.
After the phone call, I just googled "Jonathan Fryer, Eccles"
and up popped his public profile page.
It was just incredible.
In the early life section,
it says that he was born under the name of Graeme Leslie Morton
and as soon as I saw that, I thought,
"This has got to be him."
It's really strange, because ten minutes earlier,
I had no idea I had a brother
and then, ten minutes later, I've got a brother
and I've found him.
We couldn't believe that I'd been searching for years
and couldn't find him and, within ten minutes,
she'd found our brother.
It was so, so wonderful,
but heartbreaking as well, because me mum had already died
and she would have been so thrilled.
Denise then wrote to Jonathan.
Absolutely out of the blue,
I got a letter and as soon as I opened the letter
and saw the signature at the bottom - Denise -
I knew it must be her, because I'd never forgotten that name,
although it was 20 years since I'd done the search.
And she starts, "Dear Jonathan,
"this is a difficult, but exciting, letter to write
"and I hope you will not find it an intrusion into your life.
"I am quite sure that you are my half-brother.
"My mother was Joyce Morton, nee Ashcroft
"of 64 Baines Avenue, Irlam, Manchester.
"If you would be interested in filling in some of the history
"of your birth mother's side of the family
"and/or wish to have contact with Gillian and myself,
"we'd be more than happy."
And at the bottom of Denise's letter, she's written,
"P.S. Mum never forgot you, ever,
"as I will, hopefully, have the chance to tell you."
It was the most amazing feeling, suddenly to realise that,
actually, all my worries and concerns were groundless
and that, far from not wanting to have anything to do with me,
at last, I had a family who did want me.
In St Albans, retired geography teacher John Matthews
has been researching his family tree for nearly ten years.
Unbeknown to him, in Australia,
Christine St Aubyn was looking for exactly the same relatives.
I was born in 1947, in Wanstead in East London,
and my family lived in Leyton in East London.
John became a teacher, married and had a son.
He was born in 1980.
My wife passed away very shortly after he was born.
John raised his son with the help of his parents and extended family.
All through my life, the family has been the thing.
We've been part of a large family group.
Yeah, the family was everything to us.
In the course of plotting his family tree,
John had previously been in contact with Judith at Ongar Town Council
about his family records.
So I rang up Judith and said,
"Can you just check this one record for me? Winifred Holt, aged four."
And she then rang me back.
She said, "I've had some other people
"asking about this same Winifred Holt's graveyard in 1899."
I just couldn't believe it.
I was absolutely flabbergasted and curious,
and, sort of, elated.
I said, "What can we do now? Where do we go from here?"
I asked Mr Matthews if it would be OK
to pass on his details to Christine and he said yes.
So I put them in touch with each other
and they found out that they were related.
I can't believe it.
After 16 years of searching for her lost English family,
Christine was absolutely thrilled to have discovered John, her cousin.
So, in the first e-mail, I write to John, I'm very formal and I say,
"Hello, Mr Matthews." Because I didn't know how he would receive us.
I didn't know if he wanted to know us.
I didn't want to put any pressure on him.
But really I was saying, "Write back! Write back!
"I need to know about you!"
And before I got onto the e-mail,
I'd had this e-mail from Australia, saying, "I think we're cousins."
And that was the night, we sat up, most of the night,
e-mailing each other backwards and forwards. It was such a thrill!
Well, I'm saying, "Who are you? What's your connection?
"Why are you looking into this family?"
Unbeknown to Christine, her Nana Rose had another sister, Rita,
who is John's grandmother.
She knew nothing about my grandmother Rita.
I knew nothing about her grandmother, so we exchanged a lot.
She sent me some photographs and I sent her some photographs.
It just blossomed from there.
We have actually found a whole new family,
we've found a whole new branch of the family.
Just a few weeks after finding cousin John, Christine,
her sister, her husband and her father have arrived in England
to meet him for the very first time.
It will be such a thrill to actually meet them.
We've been to Ongar several times now
and these people have been within a stone's throw of us all this time.
So we've been running along parallel lines
and now we've touched.
For John, the years of researching his family tree
are finally yielding what he searched for all along -
a whole new group of relatives who have travelled all the way over
from the other side of the world.
Hopefully, in a very short space of time,
I shall be driving into the council offices
where I shall meet this cousin, Christine.
I'm getting a bit nervous now!
Family is everything to us, so this is a very big day.
A bit... Oh, my heart's really pounding!
Here we go!
As John waits nervously for Christine's arrival...
-Hello, you gorgeous girl! Thank you!
..Christine is greeted by Judith,
the woman without whom this meeting would never have happened.
Me? Oh, thank you!
John's nerves are getting the better of him.
It's been building up and building up to us meeting.
Quite nervous. In fact, I'm hugely nervous.
I can't believe you did this for us.
It's no problem. It's my pleasure.
I'm going to cry. I wasn't... I'm not going to cry.
Here we go.
-Come here, you!
-I can't believe...
-I'm so wound up, I don't know about you.
Oh, well done for getting here. Brilliant.
Christine is wearing Nana Rose's wedding ring.
I've got Nana's wedding ring.
-Have you? Oh, that's nice. How nice is that?
So...I had to wear it to show you.
-That goes back to...1920?
-Well, she wore it for...
-She wore it for nearly 80 years.
-And then my mum wore it and now I'm custodian.
Isn't it a great shame
that we couldn't meet our older relatives earlier. Isn't it?
Well, I came to find out a lot about my other relatives from you.
And me vice-versa, so...
I can't believe it.
-This is my husband, Paul.
'While their grandmothers are no longer around,
'other members of John's new-found family are here to greet him.'
'Then it's time to pay their respects to Winifred,
'the little girl who brought them all together.'
-Our great-grandfather made that.
-Well, you've brought us together, little one.
She's our great-aunt. You're quite right, our great-aunt.
Yeah, well, you are not forgotten.
If it hadn't been for that old photo that my nana had kept,
-we would never have known who this little cross belonged to.
She's added something to my life, you know?
-Just by having been there.
And you've added something to my life, having been there.
It's so good to be here. So good to be here.
All of us know there's a...
We've got a long way to go,
exchanging stories and information and so on.
We've got the rest of our lives now to share it together.
It's...lovely to have reconnected with this family.
It's taken us nearly 100 years to be able to reconnect the family.
So, it's a very special day and I hope...
I hope that our relatives are all watching
and are enjoying this as much as we are.
Jonathan Fryer and his half-sisters Denise and Gill
have recently been reunited, after a lifetime apart.
They all spent their childhood in the town of Eccles,
unaware how close they were to each other as they grew up.
Today, they're meeting up again
to show Jonathan something of importance
that he hasn't seen before.
Jonathan recognises the streets
where his sisters lived with their mum.
So many of the streets around here are familiar.
It's really quite chilling, in a way, to think
that she was here all that time.
And...I didn't know.
Denise and Gill have arranged to meet Jonathan
at the former local corner shop
where they grew up with their mum, Joyce.
It's only the second time I've seen Gill.
Denise, it'll be the third time.
So, it's great to have this opportunity to...
to meet them again and also to put everything in context.
There they are.
Hello. Lovely to see you.
Nice to see you.
-Nice see you. And how are you?
-Oh, I'm fine, thanks.
-It's been quite emotional, but...
-Yes, yes, yes.
-I can imagine.
Putting everything together now, all the little bits of the jigsaw.
This is number five.
This is number five, where we were brought up.
Yes, it sold everything - a real old-fashioned corner shop.
-So this bit was a shop?
-Yes, this was a shop window.
-No, it's amazing to think you were just here and...
-I know, and you were so near.
Mother must have been able to just walk to the school.
-It's well within walking distance.
-Yes, yes, yes.
Unaware they were growing up so close to each other,
Gillian is now able to solve a lifelong mystery.
I always wondered why we ended up in Eccles.
-But now we know why.
-Now we know why, yeah.
It seems their mother, Joyce, moved to Eccles
so she could continue to keep a close eye on her son, Jonathan.
Jonathan takes them to his old primary school,
just a couple of miles away from the corner shop.
From what you've said, Denise,
I imagine when Mother came to walk by and see if she could see me,
she must have stood at these gates here.
I just felt very emotional coming around the corner, then.
Seeing the railings and...
Because she's often said, you know,
"I used to stand at the railings, looking, watching him play.
"And seeing him arriving in the morning
-"and leaving in the afternoon."
I mean, it's so sad, in many ways, that she felt, understandably,
in that age, that she had to give me up,
-that it really wasn't possible...
-Oh, yes, yes.
..in that period, to keep a child in those circumstances.
-It must have been awful for her.
-And to... Years looking.
I think it must be the worst thing that could ever happen to a woman,
-having to give up a child.
-The worst thing.
But at least now, you know that she never forgot you,
she was always looking over you.
-Watching over you.
-That's good. But it makes it harder, as well.
-Yes, yes, yes.
So, for the first time, I'll actually see
where Mother is buried, but...
it's a bit bittersweet, really,
because it will be my first encounter with her
since the day she gave me up.
It gives us a certain closure, which is good.
I hadn't, until now, felt able to do that,
but today was absolutely the right moment to come
and to make, almost, a pilgrimage to the grave,
to show our love and respect,
and to forge that bond which has now been recreated between us,
so we have that shared memory.
Now, it's time to try and catch up on all the years they've lost.
-This is Gillian and I when we were little...
-Uh-huh. She certainly looks very jolly and happy.
-Oh, she was, yes.
She was a very happy person.
-That's my mum.
I can't imagine
how his life was, without knowing who he was.
And that...that must just be amazing for him to find out.
I like the way she's looking straight at you.
-Yes, yes. Yes, you've got the same colour eyes as her.
Yes. Yeah. Neither of us have, but you've got her eyes. Yes. Yeah.
It's definitely an emotional journey for everybody.
I'm glad we did it, though.
Really glad we did it.
It's such a shame that he can't be part
of all that went on but, hopefully, we've got plenty more things
going to be happening in the future.
She would be really chuffed to see us all sat here,
of all places, on the bench together,
-just a few yards away from where she is.
-Oh, yes, yes.
She would have been so pleased that we've been able to find each other.
-We can keep in touch now the rest of our lives.
-There's no hiding from us now!
No, that's it, we're afraid you've got us now.
It is terrific that, after 64 years,
we've been able to put back together the family that was broken apart,
which none of us would have wanted at the time.
And for anyone who is in a similar situation,
it's never too late.
It's always worth trying.
It's just an amazing feeling, suddenly, to know who I am.