Daughter to be reunited with 89-year-old father after 63 years apart – following two-decade search

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“He was the missing piece to her puzzle”

A daughter is to be reunited with her 89-year-old father after 63 years apart, following a two-decade search.

69-year-old Glennis Bradshaw, from Northampton, lost contact with her father at the age of six due to family breakdown.

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Around two decades ago Glennis’ daughter Lynn Berry, aged 49, set out to reunite her mother with her own father, Gerald Lee.

Gerald Lee and his two daughters, Karen Lee and Glennis Bradshaw, who hope to be reunited in Western Australia.Gerald Lee and his two daughters, Karen Lee and Glennis Bradshaw, who hope to be reunited in Western Australia.
Gerald Lee and his two daughters, Karen Lee and Glennis Bradshaw, who hope to be reunited in Western Australia.

Despite having little information other than his name, a rough estimate of his age and the fact he was in the Navy in his younger years, Lynn did whatever she could to make this a reality.

“My mum said she would love to see her dad again one day,” Lynn told the Chronicle & Echo. “He was the missing piece to her puzzle.”

The search began by asking all family members if they had any information that would help, but sadly they had few details too.

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Years down the line, as they have family in New Zealand, Lynn asked them to share the information they had online. From what they found out, they assumed Gerald lived there and passed away in 2015.

Just before Christmas last year, Lynn decided to purchase an ancestry test for her mother as a present.

During the test search, they came across a woman who shared the same surname as Gerald.

There was an option to message Karen Lee, and Lynn shared how she “bit the bullet” and “decided to give it a whirl” by explaining the journey they had been on over the last two decades.

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Lynn did not expect to receive a response, until last Friday (January 5) when Karen replied and confirmed she was the daughter of Gerald – making her Glennis’ half sister.

Karen confirmed who Gerald was, the fact he worked in the Navy, and that he is alive and living Western Australia with her.

“I cried,” said Lynn. “After all those years of searching. We have been emailing back and forth since then.”

When Lynn told her mother that she had tracked her father down, she warned her to sit down before she broke the news. Glennis burst into tears and could not believe he was still alive.

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The 69-year-old also questioned why Gerald had never come looking for her, but Karen shared they had the same problem of not knowing enough details to properly search.

“The puzzle came together after we were on the wrong path thinking he lived in New Zealand and had died,” said Lynn.

2024 marks a big year for the reconnected family – Lynn’s brother will turn 30, Lynn will be 50, Glennis will turn 70 and Gerald will be 90.

Lynn said: “We saw that as a reason to celebrate and go over to Australia. It doesn’t matter what it takes, I will get my mum there. We’re still in shock and can’t believe it.

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“Mum wakes up in the morning and the first thing she says is that she can’t believe after all these years she has someone she can call her dad.”

It has been 63 years since Glennis and Gerald last saw one another, and Glennis has never met her half sister Karen.

Due to the costs of the proposed Western Australia trip, Lynn has set up an online fundraising page to ask for a little help.

Lynn will be working extra hours and cutting back to ensure she and her mother can travel to the other side of the world.

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Due to everyone’s age, Lynn said “time is not on their side” and she would like to make her mother’s “dream” trip a reality sooner rather than later.

To make a donation to the online fundraising page to reunite this family, click here.