Lyndall’s 35-year mission to connect with siblings
GROWING up as an only child to a single mother, Lanitza resident Lyndall Delves knew something was missing.
She knew because when she was 10 years old, her mother told her she had at least two other siblings scattered around the world from her father's previous marriages.
The problem was she had little information and no way to contact her father, who left when she was three months old.
She started searching official records, but was no closer at the age of 19 when her mother passed away.
"Then when the internet became popular I started to do searches on that," she said.
"It was hard to work your way around it back then; I'd put in my father's name in and nothing would come up."
In March 2014, after 35 years of searching, she thought to type his name in Google one more time.
"This link came up and it had his whole name in the Sydney Morning Herald. I think it was a death notice," she said.
"I clicked on it and brought me up to this screen that asked why you want to know about this person. So I filled out the details I needed to and why, and clicked enter and it took me to a finished product. There was my story on there but there was also another story attached to it that was identical to mine. I thought Oh my god, this is my sister."
Renewing the search, she made contact with Cherie Ann, who lived in South Africa, nine months later via Facebook.
"Then one night the phone rang, and it was another sister who lived in England," she said.
"They had been in touch for the past 40 years and had given up hope of ever finding any more siblings. We have been in touch since that time via email and telephone."
Connecting with her sisters opened up a wealth of new information about her family's past, and recently the possibility of another sister in New Zealand, but when Cherie Ann unexpectedly died last October, it was a devastating blow.
"It cut me because I had 35 years of waiting and then to have that taken away ... ," she said.
"Now I have missed one and don't want to miss out on meeting my oldest sister."
Because her eldest sister Lynne suffers from multiple sclerosis, it's up to Lyndall to get to England, something that would perhaps take too long to save for on a disability pension.
Out of desperation the 46-year-old has started a gofundme page to help her hug her sister for the first time.
"I was a bit daunted when one of the first comments was that gofundme was not for a holiday, but for me it's not about a holiday at all," she said.
"It's just a massive thing in my life to be able to see and meet her. I finally know a lot more about my family, but there are still so many gaps.
"I would be forever grateful for any funding that helps me fulfil an event 35 years in the making."
To donate to Lyndall Delves' cause, go to www.gofundme.com/ cxsgntrs.