Former mayor’s ‘absolutely wonderful’ moment meeting long, lost brother

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 June 2018

Left to right, Claudine Pearce, Rod Mackenzie Moyle and Sandra MacQueen. Picture by Lucas Grundy.

Left to right, Claudine Pearce, Rod Mackenzie Moyle and Sandra MacQueen. Picture by Lucas Grundy.

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A former Exmouth mayor has described the ‘emotional’ and ‘amazing’ moment she recently met her long, lost brother for the first time.

The moment Rod Mackenzie Moyle hugged his long-lost sister Sandra MacQueen for the first time. Picture by Lucas Grundy.The moment Rod Mackenzie Moyle hugged his long-lost sister Sandra MacQueen for the first time. Picture by Lucas Grundy.

Sandy MacQueen, from Exmouth, was recently united with half brother Roderick Moyle, after his daughter traced their family tree on Ancestry.co.uk.

In May, the siblings travelled from their respective homes in Spain and Exmouth, to Rod’s daughter’s home in Bushey, Hertfordshire, for the moving meeting.

Sandy said: “It was lovely. It was absolutely wonderful. It was as if we had been family for ages, we had so much in common – it was amazing.

“We all got on so well and we laughed. We have all been very emotional about it and others connected with the family have been too.”

Left to right, David Pearce, Claudine Pearce, Rod Mackenzie Moyle, Sandra MacQueen, Val Moyle, Ian MacQueen. Picture by Lucas Grundy.Left to right, David Pearce, Claudine Pearce, Rod Mackenzie Moyle, Sandra MacQueen, Val Moyle, Ian MacQueen. Picture by Lucas Grundy.

The estrangement of Rod’s parents and his surname changing to Moyle – that of his stepfather – meant despite attempts on both sides, the siblings never met.

But Rod’s daughter, Claudine Pearce, changed all this in February, when she searched Ancestry.co.uk for her grandfather’s surname, Mackenzie.

“She lifted a picture of a woman she believed to be her great grandmother, Emily Maud, from Amber Mackenzie’s family tree.

Claudine said: “Amber was then notified I had lifted the picture. She lives in America, so she called Sandy, who contacted me by email.

Left to right, David Pearce, Claudine Pearce, Rod Mackenzie Moyle, Sandra MacQueen, Val Moyle, Ian MacQueen. Picture by Lucas Grundy.Left to right, David Pearce, Claudine Pearce, Rod Mackenzie Moyle, Sandra MacQueen, Val Moyle, Ian MacQueen. Picture by Lucas Grundy.

“I got a message from my aunt, who I didn’t know existed, which said, ‘we might be related’.

“I emailed back our story and that’s when she said, ‘I now know that your dad is my brother’. It was amazing! I was in a daze, it was incredible.”

Despite being only around six years-old when his father left, Rod says he still has, ‘a lot of vivid memories of him’ and has always wanted to reconnect.

He added: “When he said goodbye I never saw him again. But I have always thought about him and still do.”

Rod was ‘elated’ to be given copies of his father’s birth and death certificates and to be shown his grandfather’s war medals, one of which was for distinguished conduct.

He added: “Sandy sent pictures of father, which felt marvellous and since then I have spoken to my brother, who lives in Wyoming and sister in Philadelphia.

“We live in Spain and they are in America, but we are only a phone call away – it’s the fact that I know them now, rather than just knowing they exist.”

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