Bristol

'Only child' Royston Bird meets brother he did not know existed

(L-r) Royston and Doug Bird
Image caption A week ago Royston believed he was an only child, but has since learned he has a brother

A Bath man who believed he was an only child for 77 years has met his brother for the first time.

Royston Bird was fostered by a couple in Melksham after his parents died when he was three years old.

But it was only after receiving a note through his door last week that he discovered he had a brother, Doug.

Royston said: "It's lovely, very emotional, we haven't seen each other. I didn't know anything about having a brother."

Royston was brought up at a children's home in Swindon before being fostered by a family who he lived with until he was 17.

But a week ago he received a note through his door from Nici Swan, who turned out to be his niece.

It said: "Dear Royston, I've been researching my family tree and found you on it. Could I talk to you briefly? Please, please give me a ring."

After phoning Ms Swan, the brothers arranged to meet and discovered they had lived in the same children's home before being fostered separately.

'Long time waiting'

Doug Bird, 80, said: "It's been years that I've wanted to meet him.

"Going back, I don't know how, but I knew I had a brother. I was in my 20s and all that I knew was his name was Royston.

"How I came to get that name, I don't know. And that was all I could give Nici, apart from that I knew nothing.

"It's been a long time waiting. He didn't know I existed, it's funny isn't it? It's all connecting."

During the first meeting, the brothers realised they had a lot in common, both living close to each other, working into their 70s and having a passion for gardening, which Doug said proved "it's all in the blood".

Royston said: "If I'd driven into Bath I most likely walked by him. This is something really special. The future will hold a lot I think. It's beautiful."

Image caption Doug was fostered by his aunt and said he was always vaguely aware he had a brother

The family reunion came about after Ms Swan started researching the family's history.

'Same surname'

She said: "All I knew was that Royston was fostered at three. I didn't know where he was until he was three so to discover that they were in the same workhouse, with the same surname, was quite a shock."

Ms Swan also discovered that Doug and Royston's mother married and had three more children.

"He [Royston] grew up thinking he had absolutely no-one and to discover that you've got another two sisters and a brother, my goodness," she added.

"I just hope they at least exchange Christmas cards and meet up occasionally, they've got their own lives, but it would be lovely if they did."

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