Pensioner meets brother and sister after 70 years

Together again: Jean, William and Ian. Picture: HEMEDIA
Together again: Jean, William and Ian. Picture: HEMEDIA
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A SCOTTISH pensioner has been reunited with his long-lost brother and sister for the first time in 70 years.

Grandfather William Rae, of Clochan in Moray, grew up with a foster family and spent decades trying to trace his roots.

Now Mr Rae, 72, has met younger brother Ian, 69, who lives in Bristol, and sister Jean, 67, from Falkirk, for the first time in their adult lives.

The former marine, who has eight nieces and nephews he never knew about, said yesterday: “It’s wonderful. It has taken many years, but we’ve finally made it.”

William’s luck changed after his stepdaughter, Christine, researched the ancestry of the family. She achieved impressive results with the help of an Aberdeen-based amateur genealogist, who used his birth certificate to start a web search for his long-lost family.

William said: “My stepdaughter was the real genius here. I can’t even switch on a computer.

“She got in touch with a lady in Aberdeen on the Friday and by the Monday I was speaking to my brother.

“I never knew my mother. I tried to trace her several times over the years but just kept coming against a brick wall.It’s absolutely overwhelming, it was really my last hope to trace my family but Christine really produced the goods.”

And he said there has been plenty to catch up on: “Since we’ve got back together it has just been talk, talk, talk.”

William’s wife, Sylvia, couldn’t believe how similar her husband and his brother were.

She said: “They’re like twins. They’re pretty much identical and they have very similar mannerisms. Everything down to the way they move their hands was the same.”

Former council worker Ian said: “We have a lot of catching up to do. Even though we’ve been apart so long, the similarities between all three of us are striking.”

“You can easily tell that William and I are brothers – but I’m slightly better looking.”

Sister Jean, who was also fostered and now runs a takeaway business in Falkirk, said: “It really was quite a shock. There is a lot of mystery behind our pasts.

“Ian and myself found each other a few years ago. We also traced our mother, Jessie, although she never explained exactly why she had to give us up.

“She would mention things, such as that she worked as a chambermaid for the Duke of Buccleuch. But she never said a word about William, which is strange.

“Even after so many years I think there was still a lot of shame there. But the future is what is important now. We’re all together again. I grew up with foster parents and you were never told if you had other family out there.”

The siblings say they will continue looking for any more information about their past.