Stevenage woman finds sister after 66 years

Half-sisters Glenys Chestney and Pauline Miller (right) have met for the first time after 66 years a

Half-sisters Glenys Chestney and Pauline Miller (right) have met for the first time after 66 years apart. Picture by Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

A WOMAN who only discovered she had a half sister a decade ago has met her for the first time after 66 years.

The pair met for the first time last week and spent five days together in Norfolk. Picture by Ian Bu

The pair met for the first time last week and spent five days together in Norfolk. Picture by Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Stevenage resident Pauline Miller was 11 years old when, unknown to her, her mother gave birth to her half sister who she was then forced to have adopted.

Now the 77-year-old, whose auntie Monica McHale revealed the existence of her half sister 10 years ago, has finally met 66-year-old Glenys Chestney.

Her birth and subsequent adoption had been kept a family secret as Mrs Chestney’s father was unknowingly married with children.

“Ten years ago my aunt phoned and asked for some advice,” said Mrs Miller, who lives at Symonds Green Supported Housing Scheme in Hopton Road.


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“She said she had a friend who had lost everybody, she had no siblings and is a bit down. She said I know she has a half sister but I don’t know whether to tell her or just let it go. She asked ‘what would you do and would you like to know?’

“I said if it was me I would like to know and she just came out with it – ‘you’ve got a sister’.”

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Mrs Miller’s search for her half sister, who has the same mother but a different father, had proved unsuccessful due to Glenys’ name being changed from Christine Veda Badcock by her adopted parents.

“I tried everything to track her down but had no luck,” said Mrs Miller, who moved to America as a 19-year-old where she appeared on stage as a dancer and joined a touring circus.

“I’m 77 now and I thought I was never going to find her. I was determined though because I always felt that anybody who is adopted must often think and wonder about their past. I wanted to tell her about her mother and her family, and now I can. I’m just over the moon.”

The breakthrough came after Mrs Chestney’s friend Janice Bruton started pursuing family trees as a hobby.

At the wish of Mrs Chestney, who had been told she had two half brothers but not a sister, she tracked down a cousin and wrote him a letter.

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 your 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.”

The pair have been speaking on the phone every day, and finally met at Mrs Chestney’s home in the Norfolk village of Sculthorpe last week.

Mrs Miller, who was joined by 55-year-old daughter and fellow Stevenage resident Paulette Kane for the five-day trip, said: “It was absolutely wonderful to meet her. She’s so much like my mother in her interests and her mannerisms.

“I cannot thank Janice enough. She has found my sister for me after all this time and words cannot express how grateful I am to her.”

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