Joy for sisters reunited after 50 years by ITV’s Long Lost Family

Vanda James (right) is reunited with her sister Debbie (left) at the Ivy House Country Hotel in Oult

Vanda James (right) is reunited with her sister Debbie (left) at the Ivy House Country Hotel in Oulton Broad. - Credit: Archant

A woman haunted by the disappearance of her baby brother more than 50 years ago has finally been reunited with her sibling after contacting a television show for help.

Vanda James as a young child.

Vanda James as a young child. - Credit: Archant

Vanda James was just six years old when she last saw baby Kenneth at her childhood home in Lowestoft.

The 57-year-old applied to ITV's Long Lost Family for help and next week, viewers will be able to watch as Vanda is reunited with her brother - now a transgender woman called Debbie.

Vanda, who now lives near Norwich, said: 'It was a secret because nobody spoke of it and finding my brother would put an end to that secret.'

Vanda and Debbie, who lives in East London, were reunited at the Ivy House Country Hotel in Oulton Broad.


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In scenes from the show, Debbie admitted she was anxious about how Vanda would react to the fact she was no longer the brother she was searching for.

But despite Debbie's fears, Vanda describes the reunion as a 'miracle' and the sisters embrace when they meet.

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'I feel really proud of her and I just want to give her a hug because I wasn't able to the last time I saw her,' said Vanda.

During the programme, hosted by Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell, Vanda visits her childhood home and recalls vivid memories of walking into the living room and seeing a baby dressed in white sat on the sofa.

She never saw the baby again and its identity remained a mystery until Vanda, aged 10, discovered references to the birth of Kenneth in her mother Evie's diary.

Vanda was never able to talk to her mother about the baby and it wasn't until she died in 1990 that Vanda discovered it was a secret the whole family had been keeping for many years.

A cousin revealed that Kenneth was the result of an affair between Evie and a local married man and was given up for fear of scandal.

Vanda became determined, for both her mother's sake and hers, to find Kenneth and finally bring the family secret into the open.

Vanda's search will feature in the episode of Long Lost Family being shown on ITV at 9pm on Wednesday, July 20.

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