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Yeovil man finds five sisters he never knew existed

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

  • SIBLINGS REUNITED: Yeovil man Tom Johnstone, 60, met three sisters he knew nothing about until this year when he was in Scotland earlier this month

  • LOOKING AHEAD: Tom Johnstone, 60, and his wife Lyn, of Yeovil, are excited about all the new family members they have yet to meet after they tracked down three of five siblings Mr Johnstone only discovered he had earlier this year

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A faint memory of a long-lost sibling led a Yeovil man to stumble across five sisters he never knew he had.

Tom Johnstone, 60, of Folly Fields, was sent to live with a foster family with his younger brother Alexander when he was five years old.

The brothers lived in Girvan, Scotland, until Mr Johnstone joined the Royal Navy at 15. Sadly, Alexander died of leukaemia when he was only 32.

When Mr Johnstone, who moved to Yeovil with the Navy 43 years ago, visited his foster family in May this year he decided to try to find out more information about his biological parents.

The search initially led to a dead end, but encouragement from his daughter persuaded him to give it another go and he soon discovered he was one of seven children.

He said: “I had a niggling feeling I had a sister and over the years my eldest daughter said, ‘Dad if you think you’ve got older brothers and sisters you have got to do something about it’.

“I put it off and off and on my 60th birthday in June, she harped on about it again so I thought, ‘All right, I will’.”

He was referred to a social services department in Scotland which informed him he had five sisters he never knew about. They supplied him with copies of marriage certificates and the father-of-three set about trying to find them on the internet.

He sent letters to anyone who matched the names of his long-lost siblings. Within days of writing to two sisters, he received a phone call from Elizabeth Bartlett, now 56, and Frances Garforth, now 58, who identified themselves as the siblings Mr Johnstone was looking for.

It was not long before the engineer tracked down half-sister Margaret Dorman, now 63, and the four siblings were reunited after 55 years on Saturday, November 3.

Mr Johnstone added: “It was emotional, it was a strange and wonderful experience. It seemed like we had never been apart, we just clicked. I’m amazed at how well I’ve done.

“It feels fantastic. I’m still on a high, I just want to find the other two now.”

Mr Johnstone is still searching for his two remaining sisters Grace Lawson and Mary Shipton – the latter being a half sister. But in the meantime, he is enjoying getting to know his new, extended family.

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