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Albury pensioner reunited with his daughter after 51 years of searching

An Albury man has been reunited with his daughter after spending 51 years apart in opposite hemispheres.

Katie Bergin was nine months old the last time her 24-year-old father, Tony Brown, saw her in London.

Katie’s mum was taken to a home for unmarried mothers and asked to give up her daughter for adoption. She vehemently refused and eventually gave birth to Katie, in Liverpool.

“She told me that my dad’s name was Anthony Brown and he was originally from Wales,” Ms Bergin told 9NEWS.

The information proved to be little help in the search for her father, who had served in the RAF, moved to Australia by 1975 and remarried.

Ms Bergin contacted Fraser Kinnie of HeirHunter UK, who appeared on the BBC Family Finders Programme, he told her that the search would go far beyond the borders of the UK.

Ms Bergin told the Border Mail when she finally spoke to her father “it was a flood of tears – we both couldn’t speak”.

“He said to me, ‘It’s like the moon and the stars have finally arrived back on Earth’, and that’s what it’s like,” she said.

Ms Bergin has stayed almost two weeks at her 77-year-old father’s home, and soon plans to introduce him to his 21-year-old grand-daughter, Grace.

Albury Pensioner

Hartlepool fundraisers back charity by sleeping on the streets

Staff from Hartlepool firm HeirHunter UK at the Big Tees Sleepout.

It was a freezing night but it did not stop these Hartlepool fundraisers from raising thousands of pounds as they slept – or at least tried to. Staff from town company HeirHunter UK proved they had warm hearts to go with their cold feet on a night of impressive backing for charity.

“We won’t change the world through the Big Tees Sleepout but we are helping to raise some money and raise the profile of an important issue” Andy Preston

They braved the freezing temperatures by sleeping out to help raise nearly £7,000 to fight local homelessness and poverty. They joined employees of RMB Auto and the local branch of Biffa for the chilly charity challenge. And they were among more than 50 fundraisers who took part in the eighth Big Tees Sleepout, which was organised by the charity Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

The event was held on the pavement outside Middlesbrough College, and is the latest in a series of sleepouts which have been held over the past four years.

So far, the Big Tees Sleepout has raised more than £94,000 for worthy causes.

All of the funds raised in the latest sleepout will go towards supporting local food banks, as well as homelessness charities. It will also support Christmas appeals which are organised by the Salvation Army. Foundation chairman Andy Preston said: “I think we would all agree that homelessness and poverty should not exist on Teesside in the 21st Century, but sadly both are very real and affecting increasing numbers of local people.

“We won’t change the world through the Big Tees Sleepout, but we are helping to raise some money and raise the profile of an important issue.”

Mr Preston praised everyone who took part in the event for helping to back an important cause as well as putting up with horrible conditions.

He added: “Those who took part deserve massive plaudits for giving up their warm beds for a truly freezing cold night on the streets.” But now, the search is on for people to support the next fundraising event.

Organisers are hoping to hear from people wanting take part in the next Big Tees Sleepout in April next year.

Those interested should contact Mandy Shields by emailing mandy.s@teessidecharity.org.uk or by calling (01642) 686018. The Ultimate ‘Making Your Nose Happy’ Shop The Ultimate ‘Making Your Nose Happy’ Shop It doesn’t matter if its big or small, we’ve got the perfect gift for her.

Heir Hunter launch solictors’ service

Experts have launched a new service aimed at quickly informing long-lost relatives about a loved one’s death.

 

Heir Hunter UK successfully answers 91 per cent of requests to trace missing next-of-kin and is now offering specialist help for solicitors dealing with unclaimed estates or wills.

The company is busy contacting nearly 160 legal firms throughout the North-East with full details of its service.

Among the features is the use of dispatch riders within 24 hours to collect birth or death certificates from registry offices in the region.

The Hartlepool business also has legal access to more than 100 million United Kingdom mobile and landline numbers and 50 million email addresses to assist its searches.

Probate Researcher Sarah Kinnie explained: “This all came about after a leading firm of solicitors in the region contacted us to help find next of kin and were so impressed with our service that we now work with them on a regular basis.

“Two other firms have since contacted us and now we are contacting 156 solicitors throughout the North-East who deal with wills and probate to see if we can help them.

“Not only do we have years of experience, we have access to the information and records which can trace people quickly so it is one less thing for solicitors to worry about.”

Heir Hunter UK, based at Hartlepool’s Queens Meadow Business Park, has traced hundreds of missing beneficiaries in connection with unclaimed estates.

Birth and death certificates are used to verify blood ties with estates without wills eventually distributed after the completion of a legal process known as probate.

Founded more than six years ago by Sarah’s parents, Fraser and Tracy Kinnie, Heir Hunter UK’s searches are not restricted to the United Kingdom and success stories include finding relatives as far away as Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Sarah added: “We are the only probate research company in this region and it makes sense for us to work together with solicitors so we can locate the heirs to estates much quicker.”

Heir Hunter UK , whose expertise has featured on the BBC Family Finders television show, also specialises in reuniting long-lost relatives with each other.

Its workload is increasing so much that it expects its staff to increase five-fold to 50 by summer next year.

Many of the recruits will have benefited from a new partnership between Heir Hunter UK and Hartlepool College of Further Education in which students complete a work-based apprenticeship tailored to the company’s business needs.

The new specialist service for solicitors costs £100 plus VAT on completion of a successful search and more information is available by contacting Sarah on (01429) 874548 or by emailing info@heirhunteruk.co.uk.

HEIRS & GRACES – SEE PAGES 48 & 49

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Long lost family finally reunited after 30 years

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Long lost family finally reunited after 30 years!
REUNITED: Terry Hanlon, Jenny Keshav, Cath Hanlon and Jenny’s daughter Gem

A FAMILY has been reunited after more than 30 years.

Long lost cousins Terry Hanlon, of Hartlepool, and Jenny Keshav were reunited after Mr Hanlon contacted a business which ordinarily specialises in tracking down relatives of recently deceased people.

As well as the cousins, Mr Hanlon’s 84-year-old mother Cath Hanlon and Ms Keshav’s 24-year-old daughter, Gemma, finally had the chance to meet.

The family drifted apart when Ms Keshav’s father, John Robert Tebbett, joined the Merchant Navy and moved to Margate where he met Ms Keshav’s mother, following an earlier marriage in which he had two daughters.

Now 54 and with four children and nine grandchildren, Jenny Keshav admitted she was a bit of a rebellious teenager and after living with both her mum and dad following their split years later, she spent a short time in care.

Jenny Keshav said: “To hear that people have been thinking about me all of this time was so lovely. I have just inherited an enormous family in Hartlepool. I am just so thankful to have met them all again.”

Terry Hanlon, a corporate responsibility manager, said: “Every time we have a family get-together the conversation would always get around to ‘I wonder what happened to our Jenny.’ Every time. We have tried numerous times to find her on social media and through old contacts we had but to no avail.

“Then I read about HeirHunter UK and sent them a message and Fraser Kinnie (managing director at the Hartlepool-based company) called me straight away and actually did the search while I was on the phone. I was absolutely amazed how quickly he located her and how much information he had at his fingertips.

Mr Kinnie, who lives in Seaton Carew, empathised with Ms Keshav’s situation which led to her being lost to the family. He said: “There are so many families lost through the care system and adoption who are desperate to find family members. That is one of the reasons why we offer the free family tracing service.”

Heir Hunters UK was set up by husband and wife team Fraser and Tracy Kinnie six years ago and specialises in locating missing heirs across the country.

They have helped to get hundreds of thousands of pounds to the relatives of those who have died without leaving a will.

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