Sheffield-born siblings reunited after almost 75 years apart

Four siblings separated in 1941 when their mum died have meet for the first time in 75 years in Sheffield. Pictured are Mavis Clarke, Trevor Forshaw, Maureen Coleman and Chris Clay. 
Photo: Chris Etchells
Four siblings separated in 1941 when their mum died have meet for the first time in 75 years in Sheffield. Pictured are Mavis Clarke, Trevor Forshaw, Maureen Coleman and Chris Clay. Photo: Chris Etchells
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Four siblings separated almost three quarters of a century ago after their mother died in a house fire have finally been reunited in Sheffield.

The three sisters and one brother enjoyed a bottle of wine and a fish and chip dinner in Jordanthorpe – 74 years and four months after they were split up following the tragic death of their mother in Sheffield.

Four siblings separated in 1941 when their mum died have meet for the first time in 75 years in Sheffield. Pictured are Mavis Clarke, Trevor Forshaw, Maureen Coleman and Chris Clay.

Four siblings separated in 1941 when their mum died have meet for the first time in 75 years in Sheffield. Pictured are Mavis Clarke, Trevor Forshaw, Maureen Coleman and Chris Clay.

Maureen Coleman, aged 79, Chris Clay, 78, Mavis Clarke, 76, and Trevor Forshaw, 76, spent most of their lives living with grandparents or adoptive families.

Before 1982 adopted children were not allowed to look for their siblings. But once the rules were changed, the search began.

It took a number of years of unsuccessful research before Trevor stumbled across the Genes Reunited website.

“If you had a family name, date of birth and place, you could get a list,” he said. “This gave me a family tree.

Maureen Coleman when she was 18, taken in Blackpool.

Maureen Coleman when she was 18, taken in Blackpool.

That led me back to one sister, Maureen. We met a fortnight later and got to know each other.”

It turned out Maureen and Mavis had already been in touch, and soon the three siblings met together. That just left Chris.

“We couldn’t find her,” said Trevor. “I posted a note on a forum and eventually had an email in September. The writer said she was aware of my sister.

“I emailed, and we were then talking on the phone to Chris. Ironically, she lives only 20 minutes drive away from me, and Maureen only half an hour. Mavis lives just short of Rotherham. We were all within 40 miles of each other for so many years.”

Chris Clay when she was a child

Chris Clay when she was a child

That all led to the meeting, when the four siblings were in the same room for the first time in almost 75 years. The only hint of sadness was at the absence of eldest brother Arnold, who sadly died when he was 36.

Trevor said: “We have had a bottle of wine and fish and chips, so it’s been a good celebration. It’s been a great meeting.

“It’s been very good, we have really enjoyed it after so many years.”

Each sibling has their own family now, but they plan to meet again as a foursome every once in a while.

Trevor Forshaw with his adoptive parents

Trevor Forshaw with his adoptive parents

Trevor lives in Stanley Common, Derbyshire; Maureen in Jordanthorpe; Chris in Huthwaite, near Mansfield; and Mavis in Rotherham.