A RETIRED butcher from Bournemouth has reunited with both his siblings for the first time in more than half a century.

Prior to their reunion this weekend John Wallage had not seen his older sister Sandra since his parents separated when he was 14 years old.

The 64-year-old had remained in touch with his brother George until his mid-20s but they too lost contact and had not seen each other in more than 25 years. After tracking down John this year, George, who lives in Huddersfield, and Sandra, who lives in Leeds, travelled down to Bournemouth for their big reunion on Friday.

John said: “I was nervous but it’s been absolutely fine.

“We’ve been talking about the past and our families. Some of it brings back happy memories and some of it brings back sad memories.”

Sandra said: “It’s been lovely but I didn’t recognise him at first. I still had him in my mind as a 14-year-old boy.”

The 67-year-old added: “We haven’t stopped talking. It’s like we’ve not been parted.”

After their parents divorced, Sandra moved to Mansfield with her mother and John moved to Stoke-on-Trent with his father.

George stayed with his grandmother in Durham, where the three siblings were brought up.

Following their reunion the three siblings said they are determined to stay in contact from now on and are looking forward to meeting their nieces, nephews as well as great nieces and nephews.

Sandra said: “It was now or never. If we hadn’t come down now, we may not have seen each other ever again.”

John added: “It’s nice to have time with just us three but next time we’ll include the rest of our families.”