Belfast Telegraph

My quest to find the half-sister I didn't know I had until my dad died

By Victoria O'Hara

A man has appealed for help in solving the mystery of finding the half-sister from Northern Ireland he never knew he had.

Kevin Brayson, originally from Solihull in England, only discovered he had an older sister after his father died nine years ago.

Ronald Brayson, a former Army private, was based in Downpatrick when he was serving with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in the 1950s. It was there he met and fell in love with a girl in her 20s – Isabella who worked in the NAAFI.

She became pregnant but a proposal of marriage from Ronald was turned down by her family.

And an offer for his sister to adopt the baby was also refused.

The baby girl was given up for adoption immediately after birth in September 1957.

Now living in Wishaw, Scotland, with his wife and two daughters, Kevin made an emotional plea to find his half-sister, who would be turning 57 this year.

"It would be a dream come true if I finally get to meet her," he said. "All I know is that her mother was called Isabella, she was was from Downpatrick and worked in the NAAFI. Her daughter was born in September 1957.

"Isabella was Catholic and my father wanted to marry her but was not allowed.

"And my aunt had wanted to adopt the baby but Isabella's family wouldn't allow it."

Ronald then returned to England.

"He then left and then met my mother and had my brother and me," he said.

Kevin added: "We just want her to know that she was wanted.

"That we would love her to be part of our family.

"She has two nieces that she doesn't know she has and another half-brother."

Kevin explained it was after his father died aged 66 that his mother told him and his brother about his half-sister.

"I suppose to be honest I wasn't really shocked," he said.

"There was part of me that always wanted a sister. I know children pretend to have an imaginary friend – when I was growing up I used to pretend I had an imaginary big sister."

Despite trying various avenues of searching, Kevin has been unsuccessful in finding her.

"I've searched and contacted local orphanages in Northern Ireland but I need to find out what her maiden name is.

"I just haven't had any luck."

But he said his father showed signs that he missed the daughter he never met.

"When my daughter was born my dad held her and just said 'the daughter I never was able to have'," Kevin said.

"At the time I never really knew what he meant and now I know that must have really hurt him.

"I know now he had many regrets. He wanted to be a father to her. He just never had the chance."

If you have any information about Ronald Brayson's daughter who was born in September 1957 please contact newseditor@ belfasttelegraph.co.uk

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