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Tuesday 17 January 2017

Long lost sisters reunited after 33 years following emotional Livelive appeal

Surjit Nanda went on air to asked for help in tracing missing sister 'P' who came to Ireland aged just 13

David Kearns

Published 23/10/2015 | 11:19

Dublin's city centre
Dublin's city centre

An English woman who had last seen her younger sister 33 years ago was reunited with the lost sibling after an emotional appeal on Irish radio.

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Surjit Nanda (58) arrived in Dublin last Sunday evening to search for her younger sister 'P' who had fled the family home in Bedford, England, in 1973, aged just 13-year-olds.

The younger sister was believed to be living in Ireland because she had left the UK with an Irish man and had later contacted the family briefly to tell them she was ok and living in Dublin.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Liveline on Wednesday, Ms Nanda said she tried a number of ways to find her sibling, including wandering around the city centre hoping to see someone resembling herself or one of her seven siblings.

Read more: 'I just want her to know I never meant to lose touch' - Woman's on air plea to help end 43-year search for missing sister

"I walked around Dublin all on Monday and Tuesday hoping to see a resemblance of myself, of my brothers and sisters,” she said.

It was by chance though that a Dublin taxi driver advised her to contact Liveline to see if listeners could aid her 33-year search.

"I know it was a needle in a haystack, but I’m just hoping somebody out there is listening who might know an Asian girl from Bedford who came to Ireland and maybe could put me in touch with her.”

Ms Nanda told host Joe Duffy that her sister 'P' left the family home in 1973 at the age of 13 because of difficulties with their father.

“She was always a bubbly out-going person who did not sit back and take anything from anyone.

“I think that is why she did what she did. I was away on holidays so I wasn’t there to stop her and my father from clashing.”

Read More: Tourists left shocked after couple were spotted 'openly having sex' on Dublin city boardwalk

Broadcaster Joe Duffy and his mother Mabel with children dressed in 1916 costume at the launch of his book on O’Connell Street in Dublin
Broadcaster Joe Duffy and his mother Mabel with children dressed in 1916 costume at the launch of his book on O’Connell Street in Dublin

Ms Nanda said the family had been forbidden from contacting the then 13-year-old by their father, who never forgave her for leaving home.

She said that her sister had contacted the family in 1982, first through their uncle and then by phone, to tell them she was fine and living in Ireland.

“After that we kept in touch for a short time by post. She sent me photographs of her two children,” she told Livelive.

“Eventually my father discovered this and he tore up the photos. Again, he forbade us from speaking to her.”

The 58-year-old said that she defied her father in secret and continued to exchange letters with her sister.

However, while moving from her father’s home to her own, Ms Nanda lost 'P's' address and had been unable to get in touch with her since.

Speaking on the programme yesterday, Ms Nanda confirmed that she spoke to her sister following her appeal on Wednesday.

Mr Duffy told listeners that Ms Nanda’s sister called the Liveline office on Wednesday evening and said "I think that was my sister".

Read more: Joe Duffy pays tribute to forgotten children of Easter Rising at book launch

A friend of 'P's' had heard the programme while she was on a bus and told her about the appeal.

'P' did in fact marry an Irishman, who has since died, and she has five children and also grandchildren, Mr Duffy said.

“I spoke to her this morning Surjit and she said she felt reborn,” he told Ms Nanda.

"I can't stop crying,” the 58-year-old replied.

Ms Nanda thanked "all the people in Ireland” for reuniting her with her sister for the first time in 33 years, adding that she had booked flights to Dublin for Friday.

Mr Duffy said: "This is the best news I've heard in a long time".

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