A daughter will be reunited with her long-lost father for the first time in 63 YEARS – after tracking him down in Australia following a two-decade search.
Glennis Bradshaw, 69, lost contact with her father Gerald Lee, 89, in 1961 when she was just six-years-old.
He had been deployed to a Royal Navy base as part of his service but never returned after his relationship with his partner broke down.
Glennis’ daughter Lynn Berry, 49, began a painstaking search for Gerald in 1997 in a bid to reunite him with her mom – but the family assumed he’d passed away.
Lynn had little information other than his name, a rough estimate of his age and the fact he was in the Navy in his younger years.
After combing naval records and multiple family trees without any success she decided to buy her mom an Ancestry DNA testing kit for Christmas.
During the test search, they came across a woman who shared the same surname as Gerald called Karen Lee.
Lynn sent Karen a message explaining the journey they had been on over the last 27 years – and was stunned when she replied on January 5.
Karen confirmed she was the daughter of Gerald – making her Glennis’ half sister – and he was also very much alive 9,000 miles away in Mandurah, western Australia.
Glennis said she burst into tears when her daughter broke her the news and could not believe her father was still alive.
The family will now travel from the UK to Australia for an emotional reunion in April after Glennis and Gerald reconnected over email.
Retired cook and gran-of-four Glennis, of Northampton, said: “I’m still in shock two weeks later, I’m really relieved he was still alive.
“I thought my dream of finding him was over.
“When we meet, I’ll say ‘hello dad I have been waiting for this for so long’ and then I will probably cry.
“I really thought he was dead.”
Karen, 52, revealed Gerald had emigrated to Australia in 1966 after his stint in the Navy, had married a local woman and worked as a coach guide.
Gerald, who had one child with wife Claudia, said he was a ‘bit overwhelmed’ to be back in touch with his first daughter after all these years.
Glennis and her mom Irene moved with Gerald to Malta when he was posted there with the Royal Navy – but lost contact with him after the couple separated.
Gerald added he hadn’t known where to begin in the search for Glennis after she and her mother moved house.
He said: “Glennis’ mother Irene warned me not to come home as they wouldn’t be
there. My mother-in-law told me she didn’t know where they were.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed.”
Mom-of-two Lynn, from Northampton, said she first started looking for Gerald in 1997 after asking her mom if she would like to try and find him.
She said: “I asked mom if she’d really like to find her dad and she said she would.
“First of all we went through the Navy records, but we didn’t know his date of birth.
“We were looking in the Navy for people who were sent to Malta. But we couldn’t pinpoint anything.
“We literally kept going back to the family trees. They weren’t so advanced as they are now.
“It wasn’t until a few years ago that I thought I’d start trying again. My daughter did a DNA Ancestry test and found a load of links, so we got mom one of the kits.
“On Christmas day I gave it to her. I tried the family tree again and that’s when I found Karen.
“It just so happens she was his daughter. We thought he passed away. I contacted her on December 12. I was at work when I got a reply. She replied on January 5.
“I didn’t expect an answer to be fair. I was at work with tears coming down my face. This was 6am in the morning.
“I was thinking how do I tell mom. She cried when I did, she went ‘oh my god, really?’. She just burst into tears.
“For the next few days she was waking up every morning saying ‘I’ve got a dad’. We’re all a bit overwhelmed.
“I would advise anyone who has doubts of where they come from to just go for it, never give up.
“My mom thought we’d never find him.
“My children want to be part of it too. They’ve never had a grandfather. It’ll be very emotional.
“We’re aiming to get there for April. We’re looking at about £2,500 for us both to go over. I’ve started a crowdfunding page but I’ll get a loan if needs be.
“As a family we’re going to do what we can to get mom over there.
“It’s about making my mom happy – she’s my world and my rock and I’m so pleased she’ll finally get to see her dad again after all these years.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”
Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.