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Long Lost Family

  • Episode:

    2 of 7

  • Transmission (TX):

    Mon 17 Jun 2019

  • TX Confirmed

    Yes

  • Time

    9.00pm - 10.00pm

  • Week:

    Week 25 2019 : Sat 15 Jun - Fri 21 Jun

  • Channel:

    ITV

  • Published:

    Wed 05 Jun 2019

The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication - in the public domain - until Tuesday 11 June 2019.

 

 

Episode 2

 

The second episode features an extraordinary story of missed opportunity: a brother and sister both longing to find each other but both too scared to make the first move; and our eldest searcher yet, an 83-year old mother desperate to find her missing daughter before it’s too late. 

 

In a first for Long Lost Family, we hear the stories of two people so close to finding each other, but both afraid to take the first step. Scaffolder Nicholas Rhoades was adopted as a baby and grew up in Croydon with a loving family. He had a very happy childhood, his parents cared for many children in the community, so the house was always busy. As a teenager Nicholas’ adoptive mother suddenly passed away from a heart attack. Nick was devastated “Mum was always there, and then she weren’t. You suddenly realise you know I’m not, really I’m a little boy, really all I want is a cuddle. And you ain’t getting one, it ain’t there.”

 

Nick’s thoughts turned to his birth mother. “It felt the end of my family. My birth mother, she was all I had.”

 

Nicholas always knew he was adopted but the only information he had about his birth mother was from his birth certificate, including her name and crucially her address at the time he was born. Several years ago, Nicholas went to the address on his birth certificate with his wife Sandra, with the intention to knock on the door and ask about his birth mother. “We sort of sat here for about half hour, looking at the door, contemplating it.”

 

He had sat outside the house in his car, but, worried that he would disrupt someone’s life, his conscience stopped him from going through with it. “That could really upset someone and turn their life upside down. You know, you can’t just barge in on somebody else’s life like that”

He could not have known who was on the other side of that door, waiting for him. 

 

Our intermediaries did the knocking for him, and found something extraordinary. It wasn’t his birth mother Jacqueline on the other side of that door, but his older sister Cayley. “I’ve been waiting here for my brother over 30 years now.” Cayley has always lived at that address and purposely never moved, in the hope that one day Nicholas would come looking. “I know that sounds mad but this is where mum was, and I thought if I stayed here he would know where to come. He’d know – find his way home.”

 

Raised by her grandmother, Cayley has known about Nicholas for over 30 years. Desperate to find him herself she had tried and failed to write a letter to put on his adoption file. “I tried to write the letter so many times and I just- I could never seem to find the right words to start it.” She knew that her address was on his birth certificate, so she did the only thing she could, she decided she would never move, in case he ever come looking. 

 

Cayley agrees to meet Nicky, who is able to tell her about that missed opportunity. “Oh my god. He was that close. Oh god I wish he’d knocked on the door”. Cayley is overwhelmed with emotion that her long wait is finally over. When Nicky visits Cayley she is able to tell him about Nick’s birth mother Jacqueline. When Cayley was seven, Jacqueline met an American man and moved to the states, leaving Cayley in the care of her grandmother. Jacqueline agrees to meet Nicky, who makes the 3000 mile journey to Chicago to find out more.

 

As a young unmarried mother, Jacqueline was struggling to make things work with the help of her mother. She already had Cayley when she fell pregnant with Nicholas, and knew that her and her mum would not be able to cope with another baby. So she made the difficult decision to put Nicholas up for adoption. “Back then there was no help and I knew I could give him the life that he should have had”. Jacqueline is ecstatic to find out about Nicholas, and can’t wait to meet him. “Wow! That’s my baby. He’s gorgeous. And he’s still got the little dimple in his cheek.”

 

Davina reveals to Nicholas all about this extraordinary double find. Nicholas can’t believe the news that his sister has waited for him all of these years, and that he was so close to finding her. He is also delighted to have finally found Jacqueline. 

 

Nicholas and Cayley meet first, while Jacqueline’s passport is organised for her to travel. The pair reunite in a pub near Haverhill, the town where Cayley lives, and where Nicholas visited on his search. “This is the start of the rest of my life. I’ve got my brother and I’m not letting him go.” – Cayley. “There’s no way you can take this moment away from me, no way” – Nicholas

 

One month later, Nicholas travels to Newmarket, the town where he was born, to meet Jacqueline. “Oh my god, This is the most I’ve smiled in 40 something years, my family is complete” – Jacqueline. “It’s all about the future, yeah I can’t wait” - Cayley

 

The second story follows our eldest Long Lost Family searcher yet. A great great grandmother, who’s desperate to find the daughter she was separated from over 60 years ago. 83-year-old Margaret Sweeney grew up in Armagh, Northern Ireland. Raised in a strict Catholic family, Margaret moved to London as a teenager to start a new life. While working in a café Margaret met a boy and soon became pregnant. When the father didn’t want to take responsibility, Margaret didn’t know what to do. She knew that her parents would never accept the baby, so she could not go home, and she was working full time to support herself.

 

Growing up Catholic, Margaret trusted that the church would be able to help her, so she went to see a priest. He was able to tell Margaret about a convent that would help her. They took Margaret in, but instead of the kind treatment she was expecting from the nuns there, they treated her very badly. “I thought they were going to be nice. But they were far from nice”. Margaret was made to do menial tasks, housework and gardening, to earn her keep, and was shamed by the nuns for being pregnant out of wedlock. “The nuns they treated you like nothing, saying you were a bad girl. I thought I was worthless.”

 

Margaret had a baby girl, who she named Imelda. She felt she had no choice but to put her up for adoption. Margaret was devastated when Imelda was taken away “I didn’t want them to take her from my arms. Broke my heart it did”. She has thought about her daughter every day since, reading her horoscopes and praying for her every night. 

 

“I pray for Imelda every night of my life, I just put my head in my hands and say oh god please help me”.

 

Margaret went on to get married and move to Perth, Scotland, where she had five more children and is now a great great grandmother. She is desperate to find Imelda before it’s too late. “I’m praying that I find her before I die. I really am.”

 

Our search for Imelda started with her adoption records. Interestingly, the family that adopted her kept the agency updated, so we discovered that Imelda’s family had moved to Australia when she was six years old. Now called Catherine, Nicky makes the journey to Brisbane to meet her. 

 

Also raised in a strict Catholic family, Catherine tells Nicky that she has always wondered about her birth mother, but that she never looked in case she had been kept a secret. “I thought well maybe she hadn’t told anybody about me and just kept me a secret”. 

 

Nicky is able to tell Catherine that she was never a secret and about the huge family in Scotland who can’t wait to meet her. “Got a whole new family out there.”

 

Catherine is the sole full time carer for her adoptive mum who is 96 years old, she isn’t able to leave her, so can’t make the journey to the UK to meet Margaret. Davina is tasked with giving Margaret the news that while Imelda has been found, she lives on the other side of the world, a reality which might be difficult at Margaret’s age. 

 

Margaret is overcome to hear that Imelda has been found. “Never had as good a news in my life as this. It feels great, I feel I could go out and dance”. Davina explains that she has been found in Australia, and Margaret doesn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to see her daughter. “I’d fly anywhere, I’d fly to heaven to see her”.

 

Six weeks after hearing the news, Margaret and her daughter Therese make the long journey to Australia. Margaret meets Cathy in the gardens of a hotel in the centre of Brisbane. The pair share an emotional hug and catch up about each other’s lives. “Today has been the best day of my life, and I’m so happy I’ve met my mum” – Catherine. “Never give up, I said one day I will find her, and I did” - Margaret

 

Produced by Wall to Wall for ITV.

 

Series overview

 

In the last year over 4000 people from across the UK have contacted the Long Lost Family team asking for help to find missing family members. In this brand new seven-part series, Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell return and with the help of trained intermediaries, DNA experts and investigators from all over the world, they find people that previously couldn’t be traced and answer questions that have haunted entire lives.

 

The series will feature more extraordinary stories with unexpected twists and turns, including the first time the team have taken on a search for someone in the public eye, as singer KT Tunstall searches for her birth father and uncovers many surprises along the way. It also features Long Lost Family’s oldest ever searcher at the age of 83, who is desperate to find her daughter before it’s too late. New searches will take the team to locations including Chicago, Brisbane, Belfast and Canada. And for the first time the series will feature a missing person story without a resolution, by making an emotional appeal.