May 22 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Completely unaware of the existence of her half sister, Glenys Chestney has happily enjoyed the last 56 years living in rural Norfolk.
Mrs Chestney, 66, also had no idea that half sister has spent more than a decade trying to find her.
So her happiness has, this week, turned into tears of pure, unadulterated joy when the two have met in person for the first time.
Mrs Chestney’s half sister Pauline Miller, 77, lives in Stevenage and travelled to Mrs Chestney’s home in Sculthorpe, near Fakenham on Tuesday.
They both had the same mother but different fathers.
The pair have spoken every day on the telephone since they first made contact last month and have already formed a special bond.
Mrs Miller brought her daughter and Mrs Chestney’s niece Paulette Kane, 55, with her.
Mrs Chestney said: “I am so unbelievably happy to meet the sister and niece that I never knew I had.
“We’ve spent the last few days nattering away and have been getting on brilliantly.”
Mrs Chestney was born in Epping and was adopted as a baby.
She lived in Walthamstow as a child, completely unaware that the half sister she never knew she had was living just a five minute bus ride away.
Aged 10, Mrs Chestney moved to Horningtoft near Fakenham and has lived in the Fakenham area ever since.
Mrs Chestney and Mrs Miller’s mother died in 1985.
Mrs Miller’s father died when she was a child and her mother fell pregnant to another man.
Mrs Chestney met her birth mother a few times in her early childhood but has no memory of it.
Mrs Miller said: “Mum didn’t want to give her up and she always felt terrible about it.
“But her father was not a nice man. He was married with children to another woman at the time and mum knew nothing about it.
“When she became pregnant with Glenys he said she had to get rid of her or he would do harm to her and me so she had her adopted.”
Mrs Chestney said she does not believe her birth father is still alive. She said he would be more than 100 years old if he is.
She said: “My parents who adopted me and brought me up were amazing people. I had a wonderful childhood and a great life in general.
“I had been told that I had two red head brothers, but I had my own life and time moved on so I never looked into making contact with them.”
One of those brothers died several years ago.
The other was not a brother but in fact the half sister she has been spending time with this week.
Mrs Miller first became aware that she had a half sister more than 10 years ago.
Mrs Chestney’s adopted parents had sent photographs of her to her birth mother, but they were thrown away but an aunt.
About 10 years ago another aunt told Mrs Miller that she had a half sister.
She said: “It had been a family secret for years but a lot of the family had passed away by then and my aunt Monica thought I should know.”
She then spent hours trawling the internet, contacting maternity wards and doing everything she could to find her half sister.
She got hold of a birth certificate, which gave Mrs Chestney’s birth name, Christine Veda Badcock.
But Mrs Miller was unaware that she had her name changed to Glenys Yvonne Griggs after she was adopted and then changed again to Chestney when she got married at the age of 20.
Mrs Miller said: “Because of the name changes it was impossible to trace her. At my age I was starting to think we would never meet. ”
The breakthrough came after Mrs Chestney’s friend, Janice Bruton, 69, started pursuing family trees as a hobby just before Christmas.
She said: “I knew Glenys was adopted so asked her if she wanted me to see what I could find out and she said she did.
“I eventually found a cousin of hers, so wrote him a letter.
“Apparently this man almost always throws letters away. Fortunately he didn’t do that this time and he got in touch.”
Mrs Chestney rang the cousin last month and asked him to pass her contact details to Mrs Miller.
Minutes later she received a phone call and heard the opening line, ‘I am our sister.’”
Mrs Chestney said: “I can’t remember much more about what was said in that conversation but there were lots of tears of joy.”
Mrs Miller said: “I can not thank Janice enough. She has found my sister for me after all this time and words cannot express how grateful I am to her.”
When they met, Mrs Chestney gave her sister a china heart with the words, ‘Happy ever after begins today’ written on it.
She said: “I think that sums thing up perfectly. I’ve done up the spare room which is open for her any time she wants to stay over.
“We are going to continue this relationship and see each other regularly now.”
She added: “My adopted parents told me when I was eight that I had been adopted.
“I remember sitting under the table crying my eyes out wondering why my mother never wanted me.
“But I understand now what a difficult situation she was in and that she wanted the best for me.
“And now I have a new sister I could not be happier.”
Police in Norwich have launched an investigation after a woman claimed in a tweet she had knocked a cyclist off their bike.
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