As she walked down the aisle with her brother Colin on her arm Pauline Leferve was overcome with emotion.
Not only was it one of the most important days of her life, but up until five years ago she had never met her sibling and believed she never would.
Adopted when she was a baby, Pauline, 82, grew up on the Isle of Wight and always believed that she was an only child.
As a little girl she was lonely and yearned for a sibling to be her play mate.
But it wasn’t until five years ago when all of her dreams came true and she discovered that she had three siblings living across the UK, thanks to ITV show Long Lost Family.
Now a follow-up documentary reveals Pauline’s long-lost relatives were with her on the happiest day of her life.
Pauline, who lives in Hull with her new husband Chris, 81, and their cocker spaniel, Joe, says: “If I hadn’t found them then I would always have this missing piece.
"I’d be wondering what my parents had done and where they were. But it’s been absolutely wonderful.
“Now we do all sorts of things together. We go walking, or go out for coffee and cake. Mainly we just stroll and chat. We’ve got a lot to catch up on!”
Pauline was born in 1937 and adopted when she was just six months old. To this day she doesn’t know why her mum had to give her up and had very little information about her birth family.
She says: “I had a very good upbringing and my adoptive parents did everything they could for me but I was very lonely as they were quite elderly.
“All I wanted was a brother or a sister – somebody to play with, somebody to confide in. I had school friends but I left to do my nursing training in Sussex when I was 18.”
However, when she was 27, Pauline made a shocking discovery.
She says: “After my father died, in 1964, my adoptive mother showed me a book of paperwork and said that as far as she knew, my birth parents had gotten married and they’d also had a son.
“After all those years of loneliness, I found out that I could have had a brother of my own.”
From that point, Pauline desperately searched for her brother, but after 50 years she had yet to find him.
She says: “Me and my ex-husband, Alan, went to London looking for him.
“We asked the Salvation Army for help but they said they couldn’t find anything out. Alan and I also went to St Catherine’s House to look at their records.
“They used to have all these books and I found a marriage certificate for my mother and followed it through to find Colin’s birth certificate.
“But there was nothing to connect me to that person.
“I’d virtually given up trying to find Colin because I found it too upsetting.”
It was only when Chris was watching an episode of Long Lost Family in 2013, that Pauline decided to see if the show could help.
She says: “Chris asked me if I thought it would help me to find my brother. So, at the end we got the details and filled in a form.”
And a couple of months later, in 2014, the show made a discovery that changed her life.
It was an emotional moment as host Davina McCall told Pauline the news that her brother had been found.
Pauline says: “Davina said that they had found my brother Colin and that I also had five full siblings – including another sister also called Pauline – but sadly, two of them had died. I was shocked and said: ‘Goodness me, mum was busy!’”
A couple of weeks later, Pauline finally met up with her brother Colin, 81, and sister, Sandra, 70. And the long-lost siblings bonded instantly.
Pauline says: “As soon as I opened the door and walked in, Sandra put her hands to her face and said, ‘She looks just like mum’. It gave me an identity. I finally knew where I came from.
“As part of the reunion, we also went to the cemetery where my parents were buried and put some flowers on the grave. It was a lovely day.
“Sandra said that once a year, every year, mum would go very quiet and stare at the calendar on the wall.
“It was on my birthday. It was nice to know that she had never forgotten me.”
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