Family's reunion - 68 years later

A LONG lost relative of a large Ipswich family today told of his emotional reunion with the relatives he thought he never had.

A LONG lost relative of a large Ipswich family today told of his emotional reunion with the relatives he thought he never had.

Brian Smith was adopted six months after he was born and had been living in Blackpool for much of his life, unaware that his biological family lived more than 250 miles away.

But 18 months ago, nearly seven decades on from his adoption, daughter Julie started looking into the family history and soon realised Mr Simth was not an only child - and actually belonged to a large family based in Suffolk.

Through his daughter's efforts, Mr Smith eventually traced his long-lost family - and shared an emotional meeting with his brother, Alan Boyle, 54, and sister, Janet Dow, 59, in February this year.

They quickly set upon organising a family reunion to enable him to meet the rest of his relatives.

More than 130 members of the family gathered at the event at Kesgrave Scout Hall.

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Mr Smith, 68, who still uses his adoptive parents' name, went to the reunion with his wife, Sylvia, two children and two grandchildren.

He said: “It was awesome. I ended up with a sore throat because I was talking so much.

“I met so many nice people.

“I did not know anything about my family until 12 months ago.

“It was strange to come to Ipswich and see where my mother was laid to rest.

“It was a chance for everyone to meet my family - we are all going to keep in touch now.”

Mr Smith's mother, Majorie Taber, later Boyle, gave her son up to the Salvation Army six months after he was born out of wedlock while she was living in Sheffield.

She later moved back to Ipswich, where she had been brought up, and ended up marrying and having two children. She died in 1971.

The Taber family have had a couple of major get-togethers before - once in 1987 and again in 2005.

The latest event was organised by Yvonne Wood, Marjorie's sister, Mrs Dow and Joyce Leighton, Marjorie's niece.

Most of the guests came from the Ipswich area, but there were several others who travelled from all over the country, including Kent, Sussex, Yorkshire and Lancashire, to join in the celebration.

Have you had an emotional reunion with someone? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

When Mrs Dow was eight, she found a letter suggesting her mother had another child and confronted her.

Mrs Boyle explained her heartache and said that a day never went by that she did not think about her son. It also emerged that Brian had a twin who died three days after birth.

Although both Mrs Dow and her brother, Alan, longed to find their sibling again and began searching, they soon gave up, convincing themselves they would never get to meet him.

Decades later, following months of investigation via the internet, Mr Smith's daughter eventually found a member of the Taber family who then got in touch with Mrs Dow and Mr Boyle.

Mrs Dow, 59, from Clopton, near Woodbridge, said: “When Brian and I spoke on the phone for the first time, there were lots of tears. I was 59 in February so when we arranged a meeting, I said 'that's when my birthday is'. On my birthday I received cards and presents from his family, saying 'Happy first birthday'. It was unbelievable.

“I'm welling up just thinking about him going back to Blackpool but we will stay in touch.

“We have a lot of years to catch up on.”