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West Bromwich brother is reunited with sister - thanks to Bugle

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 17, 2014

By Gavin Jones

  • Happy family - John with his sister Annette (left) and their aunt Audrey Griffiths

  • Flashback to the headline of the letter in the June 6 edition of The Bugle last year

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READER John Maynard has been united with the sister he had never met – after placing an appeal to find her in The Black Country Bugle.

John, from Hateley Heath, West Bromwich, didn't even know of the existence of his younger sister Annette until last year, when his mother Beryl died and an aunt broke the news about the baby girl who had been put up for adoption at Christmas 1954.

John, along with his sisters Sandra and Lesley, set out to find her but drew a blank with the adoption agency.

So his next step was to call out to her, or someone who might know of her, through the Bugle's letters pages in June last year.

He knew only her name, and that she had been born in December 1954, some years after his father had been killed in an accident.

Genealogist Joan Keeling, of Tipton, saw John's letter in the June 6 edition of our paper and immediately offered her help.

For almost a year their combined efforts to trace Annette were thwarted, but then on having one last crack at it earlier this year, Joan discovered that a woman fitting the profile of the missing sister had been trying to find her lost family through an internet forum since 2012.

It was Joan who made the first contact with her this spring, and within days Annette and her siblings met up for the first time.

And soon afterwards, John reunited her with Audrey Griffiths, the aunt who had taken her to be adopted on behalf of her sister Beryl, almost 60 years ago.

"We had our first meeting at a pub in Wolverhampton," John told The Bugle. "It felt unreal, meeting up with a sister I hadn't even known about until recently. Neither of us knew what the other looked like – I told her I'd be the one in a suit with a blue tie.

"It's indescribable, how it felt. First we swapped details to make sure of everything, and then just bombarded each other with questions.

"Annette knew of us, she knew our family name from her birth certificate and had been looking for us, but all she had was a little plastic folder with five documents in it. That was her early life, five pieces of paper."

Annette, born at Friar Park but now Annette Banks, of Wednesfield, had been registered before the adoption went through, meaning that she grew up with the Christian name her birth mother had given her.

Had it been changed when she was adopted, she and her original family may never have been able to find each other.

"We won't have any trouble staying in touch from now on though," John says.

"Although it's been nearly 60 years, Annette didn't go very far."

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