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Jon Entwhistle, 71, from Ampleforth, reunited with family after 70 years apart
A RYEDALE man has had an emotional reunion with his family after 70 years.
Jon Entwhistle, who lives in Ampleforth, was shocked to receive a letter last week from a cousin he had never met, who was trying to trace him.
The 71-year-old had had no contact with his mother’s side of the family since she moved to Canada during the Second World War.
Jon has since discovered he has a half-sister, seven years his junior, and a number of other relatives living in Vancouver.
“When the letter first arrived I thought it was a begging letter and had to pass it to my wife, Renee, to read,” Jon said. “We were stunned and couldn’t believe what it was saying and that I had relatives in this country and in Canada.”
Jon was born in 1942, in Wakefield, before moving to Scarborough. His father, Arthur, was posted abroad during the Second World War and his mother, Joan, met and fell in love with a Canadian airman who was recuperating in the seaside town. The couple moved back to Canada, leaving Jon in the care of his grandmother.
At the end of the war, his father returned with his second wife, Irene, who Jon was told was his mother.
“Because I had been so young when my real mum left I couldn’t remember much and no one told me anything different,” Jon said. “Nothing was said in my family and it was only when I was in my 20s that I discovered that the woman I had assumed was my mother was not.”
Jon has been told it was his mother who started looking for him, but for years the family had been unable to trace him.
“It was amazing that my cousin, Glenys, lives in Keighley and that I have an aunt in the Midlands,” he said. “We have already been to see them and I have talked to my sister, Christine, on Skype and will be going over to Canada next year.”
Jon said he felt no bitterness towards his mother, who died in 2004. “She had a very, very difficult life and it was a different time and I always think with of my mum fondness.
“It is just brilliant and incredible after 70 years to be reunited with my family – it feels great and I am over the moon.
“It is going to be emotional, but I am looking forward to catching up on all those years and finally being able to put together my family tree.”
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