Here’s Harborough businessman Ian Joule surrounded by the family he never knew he had.
There’s his half-sister Joanna Falcon, half-sister Katherine Pegrum, half-brother Jake Dobson, and loads of nieces and nephews.
Mr Joule said: “It’s an amazing, startling thing to have happened. There was tremendous emotion, and lots of hugging.”
The event took place earlier this month.
Ian’s sister Katherine said: “I’ve been looking for our ‘lost brother’ for more than 10 years.
“We’re all absolutely delighted to have found each other.”
Mr Joule (78), owner of Joules Eating House off the High Street, was actually born Michael George Cheshire.
He was adopted by Walter and Gwladys Joule when he was nine. He never knew his real mother and father.
His mother went on to have three other children though – Jake, Joanna and Katherine.
The two halves of the family have been looking for each other for years.
But it was a family historian employed by Mr Joule, whose son owns the Joules Clothing firm, who finally put the two halves of the family together.
“I got a letter about Ian and unfortunately I didn’t open it until late on a Saturday night,” recalls Ms Pegrum.
“I got onto the internet, and managed to see a picture of Ian Joule on a website.
“My daughter was saying ‘don’t get too excited, you don’t know if he’s the right person’.
“I said ‘I do, because he’s the image of my grandfather’.
“I got on to the historian and told him to give Ian my phone number and three-and-a-half minutes later the phone rang. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to speak but he just said ‘hello sis’, and I said ‘hello bro’ and we took it from there.”
Mr Joule was the secret son that his embarrassed mother didn’t want the rest of the family to know about. It was only a slip from an aunt that told Katherine that she had an adopted older brother.
“There’s a bit of me that wonders what my mum would make of all this,” admitted Katherine. “But I think she would be pleased we’re together now, and very proud of Ian.
Mr Joule said: “What’s so lovely is that I wanted to find my birth family – and they wanted to find me too. “
“This reunion has filled a gap in my life that only someone who doesn’t know their mum or dad will understand”.
Katherine added: “It is unbelievable, and the reunion was emotional.
“But what’s lovely is now we’ve stepped into a normal family life.”