“I'd lost touch with my sister Marion. I hadn't seen her since our mother's funeral 12 years ago."
“We didn't fall out, we saw one another at Christmas and other family events. Marion and I were part of a large family - there were 12 brothers and sisters.
“She was an independent spirit and moved away quite young - moving house quite frequently. When I tried to get in touch with her at her house, she wasn't there. A man answered and didn't know who she was. I looked in the electoral register, and wrote to an address I thought she might be living at, but I didn't hear anything.
“Months turned into years, and we hadn't spoken. My brother and sisters and I often talked about her. We wondered where she was and what she was doing. I finally thought it was time to look for her, especially as our brother had died”.
How did you search for Marion?
“I was really desperate to see her again. I knew that The Salvation Army had a family tracing service so I contacted them in August. They took six months to find Marion, but within an hour of them getting in contact with her, and finding out if she was happy to speak to me, I had her number.
“Words can't say how I felt to have Marion's number, and know I could speak to her again. It was absolutely wonderful. When I spoke to her I realised we'd both been nervous, but it's now back to normal again. We speak every two weeks. I found out that Marion was living in Newcastle. We arranged to meet again after 12 years. I went over to see her.
“The fantastic thing was that Marion's daughter arranged for a surprise trip for her to visit me and the rest of her family in Northern Ireland at Christmas. There was lots of family she had never met before, and it was great for the brothers and sisters to be together again. It was very emotional when we got together.
“We know we won't lose touch again. We make sure we speak regularly”.
“My husband was in the army and we moved a lot. I had one of my sister's numbers but when I tried her she had moved. When I got the letter from the Family Tracing Service to say Anita was wanting to make contact I was over the moon. I called the case worker back within 10 minutes and I was thrilled when Anita called me.
“We speak all the time now, and I went over to Northern Ireland and saw my other brothers and sisters and I speak to them a lot too now.
“My children and grandchildren are also in touch with their cousins too, which is really nice”.
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