Gossip- 22 August 2014 < Back to gossip
Searching for a father that he may never find...
In this week's episode of Long Lost Family, Davina and Nicky meet forty-six year old family man, John Farrell.
John still lives a few streets from where he grew up and remembers the turbulent childhood he experienced. John always felt like he didn’t quite fit in with his family and when John turned thirteen his feelings seemed to be validated when he found out that the man he was raised to believe was his father wasn’t actually his biological dad. His mother went on to ask him if he wanted to know about his birth father, but full of pain and confusion John decided he didn’t want to know anything – a decision he now regrets.
Since becoming a father himself to three daughters, John has realised the importance of fatherhood and has always aimed to better his situation and provide a fantastic life for his children.
John says: “When I had children I wanted to be the best man I could. I wanted to be part of their lives. I wanted to be a role model to look up to, in a way all the things I didn’t have.”
Having children of his own also changed John’s perspective regarding his own father and he came to realise that he had to find his dad.
Twenty years ago John began his search for his father. He first went to his mother who told him that his father was a former soldier called Cyril Smith and that he had been married at the time that John was born. His mother went on to tell him that as a result of the affair his father’s marriage broke down and that John had two half siblings, Gerrard and Lisa. But his search got no further.
In 2011 John served with the Territorial Army in Afghanistan.
He says: “To be serving my country to put that uniform on every day and go and do the job that we were doing…it made me proud.”
When he returned to the UK he received a hero’s welcome, “everyone wanted to shake your hand”; but this outpouring of admiration from strangers, only focussed his awareness on what he was missing in his own life. John realised that there was only the one person he wanted to recognise his achievements – his dad.
When Long Lost Family took on the search they were able to track down John’s two half siblings from his father’s marriage. They contacted Lisa, his eldest daughter, and she confirmed she was Cyril’s daughter, but devastatingly she also revealed that her father had died in 2005.
Lisa, Gerrard and their youngest sister Kelsey agreed to meet with Nicky at Lisa’s home. The trio tell Nicky that they were aware of John but had never wanted to rock the boat by trying to find him. They are able to paint a picture of their father that they hope will answer some of John’s questions.
Long Lost Family informs John about his father’s death without the cameras present but Davina is able to tell him that he has brothers and sisters who would love to meet him. John is moved to tears to know his siblings want to meet him and reading their letter he receives the news he has been waiting to hear for so many years - that his father did want to know him.
He says: “A door is shut but another one is open…it’s not what I wanted but it’s more than I expected.”
The reunion takes place at Sefton Park in Liverpool and for both John and the siblings there is a huge mix of emotions as it comes closer to their meeting. When they meet for the first time, the siblings cannot get over how much John resembles their dad and they are keen to tell John all about him.
Finally, John is able to hear what he has so longed for: that their father would most definitely have been proud of the man he has become and they are proud of him too.
Patricia Hart, 75, is a great grandmother from South Yorkshire. She lives in a village near Rotherham with her large family nearby. Although she has a close-knit family, there is one person missing from her life – her first daughter Christine who she chose to give up for adoption in 1959.
She says: “It just scares me that I will never see her, that is a fear that I will never see her before I die.”
Patricia was born in 1937 in Moorends, a colliery village in Yorkshire. She grew up in this small community where everyone knew each other and there were no secrets amongst neighbours. In 1954, aged 17, she signed up for three years in the Women’s Royal Army Corps. It was her first time away from home and an opportunity for excitement and adventure. Patricia grabbed the opportunity with both hands and it opened up a whole new world for Patricia. It was while stationed at a base in Hampshire that Patricia met Christine’s father and they instantly hit it off.
Eight months into the relationship Patricia’s time in the army came to an end and she returned to Moorends where she discovered she was pregnant.
Having been fearful she would not get to see her daughter again before she dies, Patricia is overcome with happiness when Davina tells her the news that she will get the opportunity to see her again.
When the morning comes for mother and daughter to meet, Patricia is giddy with excitement. Their meeting takes place at a park near to the hospital where Marion was born. There are hugs and kisses when the pair are finally brought together and Patricia is finally able to let Marion know that she has always loved her. Mother and daughter leave arm in arm, a new chapter ahead of them and Patricia with a new lease of life.
Watch Davina and Nicky's search for Long Lost Family, Monday 25th August at 9pm on ITV.