Long Lost Family viewers in tears as sister and brother are reunited
Long Lost Family viewers left in tears as sister who suffered ‘horrendous abuse’ in care is reunited with brother who was adopted as a baby and has been living just THREE miles away
- Trainee nurse Donna Cowell, from Blackpool, was put into care as a baby
- Donna was adopted alongside her brother Damien at eight-years-old
- Pair suffered ‘horrendous abuse’ as they moved between ten foster homes
- Eventually, Donna discovered she had a younger sibling, Stephen
- She spent years fearing he had suffered on his own before being reunited
- Now called Philip, he revealed he had been happily adopted as a baby
Long Lost Family viewers have been left in tears after a sister who suffered ‘horrendous abuse in care’ was reunited with her secret brother who lives just three miles away.
Trainee nurse Donna Cowell, from Blackpool, was put into care with her brother Damien as babies after their birth mother became homeless.
The pair suffered ‘horrendous abuse’ as they moved between ten foster homes before being adopted by their mother Carol and her husband when Donna was at eight-years-old.
Shockingly, Donna discovered she had a younger sibling, Stephen, after receiving her full care file, and spent years fearing he had suffered on his own.
In the second episode of ITV’s Long Lost Family, which aired last night, she finally discovered her sibling, now named Philip, had been happily adopted at six-weeks-old and only lived three miles away from her.
Viewers were overcome with emotion after watching the pair reunite at a local cafe, with one tweeting: ‘Turns out I wasn’t emotionally stable enough for [this]’. Donna was supported by her brother Damien, although he didn’t want to appear on camera.
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Trainee nurse Donna Cowell (pictured with her long lost brother Phil), from Blackpool, was put into care with her brother Damien as babies after their birth mother became homeless
Before her adoption, Donna’s life had been very difficult, with the trainee nurse admitting her and her brother suffered ‘horrendous abuse’. The pair were later adopted together.
Donna explained that she had always been thankful that she had her brother by her side during her years in care but discovered, on receiving her full care file, that Damien was in fact not her only brother.
Her file revealed that she had a baby brother called Stephen who had been born two years after Damien.
Donna recalled: ‘From that moment I thought I need to find him. Me and Damien have always had each other. I don’t want Stephen to have suffered what we suffered on his own.
‘I was really shocked and upset. That was my baby brother and was perhaps in the same situation as I was being brought up in care. It’s sad. I would hate to think I have a brother out there who isn’t loved. He could have been with us.’
Donna and Damien suffered ‘horrendous abuse’ as they moved between ten foster homes before being adopted by their mother Carol and her husband when Donna was at eight-years-old. Pictured, Donna with her long lost brother Phil
Shockingly, Donna discovered she had a younger sibling, Stephen, now called Phil (pictured), after receiving her full care file, and spent years fearing he had suffered on his own
Years later, and now a mother-of-four, Donna still feared that her brother Stephen had an unhappy childhood. She said: ‘It’s a question that’s always going to go with me until I die.’
The Long Lost Family team soon discovered that Stephen he had been adopted by a Mr. and Mrs. Holme and was now called Philip.
Using this new name, a match was found on the electoral roll and a letter sent, but there was no response. It was feared that the team had got the wrong man, but then out of the blue, they heard from Philip.
The team’s letter had been forwarded to his family home, where he recently returned to, to look after his terminally ill adoptive father. Astonishingly he was living just three miles away from Donna, in Blackpool.
Co-presenter Nicky Campbell visited Philip, known as Phil, and was pleased to learn that he had a happy adoption at just six-weeks-old.
In the second episode of ITV’s Long Lost Family, which aired last night, Donna (pictured) finally discovered her sibling, now named Philip, had been happily adopted at six-weeks-old and only lived three miles away from her
Phil said: ‘I couldn’t ask for a better set of parents’, adding that he was ‘the lucky one’.
However, he admitted: ‘I felt like I was missing out on that sibling relationship so it’s brilliant to think that she’d been looking for me.’
Donna was soon told about her brother’s happy adoption. Relieved, Donna, referring to her difficult time in care, said: ‘I didn’t want it to happen to somebody else that I love. I just want to see him now… move forward and share memories with him, create memories.’
The next day Donna visited her baby brother for the first time in a cafe in Stanley Park, a short walk from both their houses.
Reaction: Viewers were overcome with emotion after watching the pair reunite at a local cafe
An overjoyed Donna said: ‘It’s not just me and Damian now, it’s me, Damian and Phil all just here on the doorstep. It’s time to move forward, think about the future, and get on with life.’
Phil added: ‘It’s amazing just how much we’ve got in common. I can’t stop smiling. Now I just can’t wait to get to know them both’
Viewers were left tearful following the touching scenes, with one writing: ‘The Blackpool reunion has made me so very happy. Tears!’
Another said: ‘Donna and Phil meeting the very next day after Donna found out about him, and then Phil buying his big sister those flowers is one of my absolute favourite reunions ever on Long Lost Family.’
A third added: ‘Long Lost Family keeping the tissue industry in business! Wonderful programme, sensitively presented, my heart hurts for these lovely people.’
Long Lost Family airs next Monday on ITV at 9pm
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