Bideford man finds long lost family
A BIDEFORD man abandoned in London as a child more than 50 years ago is celebrating finding his family. Shaun Donahue, 54, of Barton Tors was only a few months old when he and his sister, Carol Anne, were left in a children s home in Westminster. Their f
A BIDEFORD man abandoned in London as a child more than 50 years ago is celebrating finding his family.
Shaun Donahue, 54, of Barton Tors was only a few months old when he and his sister, Carol Anne, were left in a children's home in Westminster.
Their father, an American, had gone back to the States and their mother was unable to cope.
Following transfer to the Westmead Children's Home in Ilfracombe they were fostered by Evelyn and John McCourt and family of Bideford. The pair became part of a large and loving family which included the McCourts' own children John, Sheila and Teresa and other foster children. He stayed with them until he was 16 and remains in touch with John, who now lives in Northam.
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But he has always wanted to find his own family and has made many attempts to find them over the years.
Now a chance letter to his late grandmother's former address in Warwickshire has revealed a large number of his mother's family still in that county. And a follow-up on social website Facebook has brought response from many previously unknown and unseen relatives.
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Sean moved to Plymouth to start a 40-year career in the hotel and catering industry, in latter years with the local Brend Hotels, before being left disabled following a neurological operation a year ago.
"I travelled all over the country, but without knowing where my family were and tried many times to find them," he said.
He found he had an older brother, Geoffrey, who went to live with their father in America as a toddler, but they have never met. It remains a lifelong ambition to do so.
When he was 21 Sean's efforts did find his grandmother Kate Mancini and an aunt living in Warwickshire and he was given pictures of his mother and elder brother. He also found his mother in Cardiff, but they only met briefly and lost touch again.
His grandmother and mother both died in the 1980s.
But now, more than 30 years on, a letter to his late grandmother's old address has revealed a large Mancini family of Italian origin still living in Warwickshire.
Shaun has found that he was, in fact, one of five children and that his mother was one of 10 children.
There are many relatives who knew nothing about him and are now keen to meet him.
From contact with just three of his mother's brothers and sisters Shaun has already found 30 cousins and that is just the start, he said.