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Siblings reunited after losing touch 54 years ago and thinking the other had died - after living miles apart

Mirror logo Mirror 29/06/2017 Abigail O'Leary

Credits: Hull Daily Mail WS © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Hull Daily Mail WS Siblings who thought one another were dead have been reunited by an incredible twist of fate after 54 years of separation.

Dennis Whiting, 81, and his sister Betty Glenville lost touch more than half a century ago - but have spent that time living just 10 miles apart.

Their reunion began when Dennis's daughter Janet Thompson took a photo of her father alongside a Hull fishing memorial he was featured in.

She uploaded the picture of her dad as a 24-year-old fisherman to a local history page before receiving a message from a lady called Elaine telling her they were cousins, reports the Hull Daily Mail.

Credits: Hull Daily Mail WS © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Hull Daily Mail WS The cousins, who up until then didn't know each other existed, arranged for their parents Dennis and Betty to be reunited for the first time since 1963 - when Dennis was 27 and Betty, 25.

Janet said: "My Dad was one of four siblings, a brother and two sisters. They lost contact after their mum died 54 years ago.

"My Dad assumed all of his siblings were dead. He and his youngest sister Betty were the closest growing up, with only two years between them.

"She lived in Kenya when their mum died and by the time she came home my dad had moved house and his telephone was always ex-directory.

"When Betty was shown the photograph of her 81-year-old brother she said it wasn't him, but shown the photograph of him aged 24, she knew it was him. She used to knit all of his jumpers for sea."

Credits: Hull Daily Mail WS © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Hull Daily Mail WS The family met up at the Village Hotel in west Hull with Dennis' daughter, two granddaughters and Betty's daughter and niece and they have since met again for lunch with more family members and spent hours talking to each other on the phone.

For the past 22 years, Betty has lived in Hedon and Dennis has lived in west Hull, a short distance apart.

Dennis said: "I am amazed how this has happened. I thought she was dead and she thought I was dead.

"I couldn't believe how much she was like our mother. She's a lot fitter than I am and could remember a lot from when we were younger.

"I was just so surprised, it's unbelievable. I'm so pleased, she's the only blood relative I have left, apart from my daughter and grand-daughters.

"When I went to pick her up I put her address in my sat nav and it's exactly 10 miles between us and we never knew.

"I do feel sad for all those missed years, but I don't suspect we would have seen each other that much because she moved about all over the world because her husband is in the army and I was at sea from the age of 16 until I retired at 66."

Janet said it's not just Dennis and Betty who have found each other, but also the extended family who had never met.

She said: "Growing up all I ever wanted was a cousin, I didn't have any on my Mum's side as she was an only one. Turns out I have 10, but one has sadly died.

"In this day and age when all you read about is doom and gloom it's nice to share a happy story."

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