Roy is re-united with his family after 50 years
Published 16/12/2006 | 12:43
Christmas has come early for an Ulsterman who has been reunited with his family after 50 years.
Roy McCarroll got more than he bargained for when he approached the Housing Executive as homeless on December 6.
For as well as helping him find a home with BIH Housing Association, Margaret Napier and Danielle Humphries from the Housing Executive's Homeless Advice Centre also helped him trace the family that he lost touch with more than 50 years ago.
The 72-year-old left his home in Belfast's Shankill area 53 years ago for a life in England and only returned a couple of weeks ago to try to find his family.
Ms Napier and Ms Humphries were so touched by his story that Ms Humphries last week approached her Aunt, Teena Patrick, who is a volunteer community co-ordinator in the Shankill area.
Through Shankill Radio they were able to put out a plea for Roy's family on Wednesday evening and in true Cilla Black style they were happily reunited the next afternoon.
An emotional Mr Carroll said: "I can't believe how kind everybody has been, especially the girls in the Homeless Advice Centre.
"This has really restored my faith in human nature and meeting my family again after all these years is the best Christmas present I could have asked for."
His sisters Kate and Joan, who were born after their brother had left for England, added: "It's just brilliant! We had been looking for Roy as well and at first all we could do was sit and stare at him. It was like looking at our Father - they are so alike."
Speaking about events Ms Napier and Ms Humphries said: "Working in the Housing Executive's Homeless Advice Centre we are dealing on a daily basis with some of the most vulnerable people in our society and it's always rewarding when we are able to help them find a home.
"However, we were just so touched by Roy's plight that we felt we had no other option but to go that extra mile to help him find his family - and just seeing him reunited with his sisters, Kate and Joan, was reward enough."
Mr Carroll is now settled in sheltered accommodation near his family and is looking forward to a special Christmas with the sisters he had never before known.