LONG-LOST siblings separated for more than 60 years have finally been reunited – and now they want to find another brother who could be living in the district.
Leonard Smith, 79, who lives in Heckmondwike, and Doreen Driver (nee Smith), 77, whose home is in Dewsbury, are now in regular contact with their sister Christine Crabtree, 75, after finding each other through a classified advert. Christine’s home is in Lancaster.
Leonard, of Fairmoor Way, thinks the last time he saw Christine was in 1946, when he was just six years old.
At that time, Leonard lived with Doreen and their brother Jack in the care of their father and step-mother in Earlsheaton.
But it has emerged that Christine and her brother Donald are their siblings.
Leonard recalled: “We vaguely remember one night, a little lass and a little lad came to the house, but when we got up the next morning they weren’t there.
“So I’ve always known that I’ve got another sister and a brother somewhere. Over the years we hadn’t a clue how to get in touch.”
Leonard said all the siblings had the same mother and father but it was his dad George and step-mother Joan who had brought him up with Doreen and Jack, while Christine and Donald were taken away for unknown reasons and were adopted and raised separately.
The circumstances of their separation are unclear but now the reunited siblings are desperate to find out what happened to Donald.
A few months ago, unknown to Leonard, Christine paid for an advert locally which read “looking for Jack Smith, born 1938, Donald Stewart Smith, born 13th of January 1945.”
Jack died last year from prostate cancer but one of his friends alerted Leonard to the advert.
Christine was only aware she had two brothers – Leonard and Jack – so when Doreen’s daughter rang her to tell her that she had another brother and sister, she was stunned – and delighted.
Christine had been looking for Jack and Donald since 2005 but had given up hope until she placed her small advert.
For many years, finding his long-lost siblings was never something Leonard had really thought about. He said: “I’ve always had enough with my own family, we’ve four children and my wife and that’s enough.”
Just a few weeks after seeing the advert, the three siblings met up at Doreen’s home in Dewsbury and they have stayed in touch.
Christine, who was brought up in Dewsbury before moving to Scotland and later, to Lancaster, even went to the same secondary school as Doreen – but never knew.
Leonard said: “You read about things like this, but it’s brilliant. I feel so emotional.
“Christine had given up looking, and just put the advert in hoping that somebody would see us who knew us.
“If Jack’s friend hadn’t seen it, we wouldn’t have known.”
Now Leonard is hoping this story will help the family find Donald, who they believe is 73 and was also brought up in Dewsbury.
Anyone who has any information can get in touch with The Press on 01924 470296.