A woman made contact with her long-lost brother this week after a search that lasted nearly 30 years.
Lisa Carr, 51, a town councillor for Haverhill’s south ward, said it was her mother’s dying wish in 1989 that her daughters met the son she had out of wedlock in 1955.
Lisa’s brother Steven was adopted and given a new surname.
But, thanks to social media, they found each other in April and last week Lisa and Steven met for the first time in Haverhill to celebrate his 60th birthday.
“My mum had a baby out of wedlock in 1955,” said Lisa. “At that time, it was something that just would not happen and people shunned it.
“She was sent away to a mother and baby hospital and, six weeks after being born, the baby was adopted.”
Lisa’s brother, Steven Keanie now lives in Richmond Hill, near Toronto in Canada, having moved to the country when he was 15.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Steven. “I’ve known since I was five that I was adopted, but I never questioned my parents about it.
“In April, I was watching the film, Philomena. It’s about a young woman who had to give up her son. It really resounded. Something about that made me ask my dad if he could help me.
“I started looking on ancestry.com. It was my daughter, though, who took the ball and ran with it.
“She searched on Facebook and found my sisters for me. She told me their names and we made tentative contact.”
Steven arranged to travel to the UK in time for his 60th birthday on January 6 and to meet Lisa and her sister Debra Arthurs (57).
“We’ve been looking for him for 30 years,” said Lisa. “We had no success and then, out of the blue, he sent us messages on Facebook.
“His daughter, Catlin, had found us.
“We took him round all the places my mum would have known, including Haverhill cemetery so he can see her grave.”
Steven said: “It’s warm and welcoming here. We visited my mother’s grave, which was an emotional experience.
“I have three kids. They were thrilled when they found out.
“I feel it’s a whole new part of the family. I certainly want to come back to see them and there’s an open invitation for them to come to Canada.”