EMOTIONS were high at The Granville Hotel on Friday last as a family were reunited.
Thomas Walsh (90), originally from Queen’s Terrace, Ballybricken and now residing at the Holy Ghost Residential Home, was reunited with his first-born daughter Maureen May who was adopted almost 60 years ago when she was a baby.
Maureen, who grew up with the name Margaret (which happened to be the name of her biological grandmother) was born in Aldershot, England but resides in Workington, Cumbria.
Until less than five weeks ago, Margaret Wilkinson had no knowledge of her biological family.
Separately last week, Margaret met her 84-year-old birth mother Sheila who is from Hampshire, Surrey and now resides at Dunabbey Residential Home in Dungarvan. Thomas and Sheila were unmarried at the time of Margaret’s birth in 1958.
Ironically, on the Saturday before Margaret made contact, her biological brother Paul Thomas Walsh was stopped outside the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity and invited by a nun to light a candle and say a prayer.
He lit a candle and prayed to St Anthony (Patron Saint of the lost) that his sister would be found.
On Friday last, Margaret met her new-found family in Waterford, including her sister Margaret Jarmyn, brother Paul Thomas Walsh, niece Lyndsay Groushko, niece Molly-Ann Walsh, nephew Mark Anthony Walsh, and cousin Mary Lane.
Margaret Jarmyn had applied to the television programme ‘Long Lost Family’ in an attempt to locate her sister but they were unable to help due to the volume of applications.
“I kept looking for advice on the Internet and found a group on Facebook about the Yateley Mother and Baby Home where my sister was born. I was pointed in the right direction and after contacting local adoption services they found my sister after a long search.”
Margaret added: “My sister has no children or family at all so it was a huge surprise for her to learn she has parents still alive, two brothers and two sisters, four nieces, six nephews, three great nephews and lots of Irish cousins.”
After meeting her father at The Granville Hotel on Friday last, Margaret accompanied him to the Cathedral where he had served as a choir boy and where they enjoyed a quiet moment together.
“There have been many tears of joy and elation at finding Margaret after all this time,” said her sister Margaret. “Now that she has been found she will never be lost to us again.”
She added: “The staff at the Granville shared the joy and were extremely helpful and really enriched our get-together”