Lisa Horner, 29, from Nottingham was looking for her dad - but instead found a sister she never knew she had!
It was hot. And really sunny.
Me and Dad splashed around in the outdoor pool at Mablethorpe, then walked along the seafront eating our ice-creams.
After, he handed me a passport-sized photo of him.
‘To remember me by,’ he said.
I could see my gran, Mum’s mum, waiting for me over the road.
It was time to say goodbye.
‘I love you, Dad,’ I said, giving him a hug.
That was the last time I saw Dad – 20 years ago.
Things hadn’t worked out with him and my mum, Sharon, now 47. Dad had left when I was about 3. And we hadn’t heard anything from him…
Until, years later, we’d met at Mablethorpe, when me and Nan went for a day.
After that, I wondered about my Dad. What he was doing, where he was… Why he’d left…
So, when I turned 18, I put a message on a missing persons website, including Dad’s name, date of birth and a description.
I heard nothing.
Mum was supportive, but didn’t want to know much about it. Fair enough.
Over the next few years, I got on with my life.
I met Jody, now 30, and in 2004, we got married.
We had our kids, Aiden, 11, Evie-May, 10, Ethan, 7, and Moses, 1.
Dad’s missing out on all this, I’d sometimes think.
Occasionally, I’d check the missing persons website. Still there was nothing.
Then, last March, I saw a reply from a Sue Parton. The message had been waiting for me on the website since 2012.
My heart was pounding as I opened her message.
I think you and my granddaughter Rebecca Parton are looking for the
Did Sue mean Dad had another daughter? I needed to find out more.
But the website wanted me to pay a subscription fee before I could even reply to Sue’s message.
So, I looked for Sue and Rebecca Parton on Facebook. It wasn’t hard.
‘Rebecca sort of looks like you,’ Jody said when we found her profile.
I sent her a message.
I think we’re looking for the same man, I said.
Within just a few minutes, Rebecca replied.
We got chatting. Rebecca lived in Doncaster, near Sue, her maternal grandmother.
Dad was from Doncaster, too.
But I have never met Dad, she wrote.
She was 21. He’d left when she’d just been born.
She described him from photos she’d seen. We were talking about the same man…right down to the tattoo of a cross between his eyes.
I think we might be half-sisters, Rebecca messaged.
It took time to sink in. I’d been looking for my dad…but found a little sister! And I was thrilled.
I was dying to meet her. But that’s easier said than done when you’ve got four little ones.
Instead, we kept in touch through Facebook and did a DNA test through the post. When the results came back, it confirmed what we already knew.
We were half-sisters!
I’ve always wanted a sister, Rebecca messaged.
Well, now you’ve got one…and a brother-in-law, and three nephews and a niece! I replied.
Rebecca was an only child. And, in 2012, she’d lost her mum to a rare form of ovarian cancer.
We’d never replace her. But I hoped having us might help.
A couple of months later, we finally met. I brought the kids along to meet her, too.
Rebecca was waiting for us at Doncaster train station.
‘Hello!’ she cried, throwing her arms open for a big hug.
We had a cracking day. Went for lunch, talked and talked.
Neither of us had known our dad. But we’d found something just as special… A sister!
Since then, Rebecca’s been down to Nottingham for Moses’ first birthday party.
Of course, we still want to find our Dad. His name is David Graham Martindale, or Jones. He’d be 49 now.
Together, we tracked down his cousins and even his brother. But no-one had heard from him since the late 90s.
Rebecca also told me how her mum mentioned Dad had two daughters apart from her.
If she’s right, we have another sister somewhere!
We’d love to find her. Complete our family jigsaw. Until then, we’ll make do with the pieces we have.