THE marvels of social networking have helped a woman who lost her memory trace her South Yorkshire family – 34 years after they presumed she had died.
Susan Ardron moved to South Africa in the mid 1970s but her family in Rotherham feared the worst when she lost contact three years after she emigrated.
When she finally got in touch with relatives this year they at first thought it might be a scam.
But Susan, now 61, had suffered amnesia in a road accident - and it took years for her memory to return.
It wasn’t until a family in Johannesburg helped her that she traced siblings in Rotherham via Facebook.
Sisters Dawn, 58, Julie, 50, and Gail, 52 and her brother Colin, 39, are now trying to arrange a passport for Susan so she can be properly reunited with them.
Susan left for South Africa with her husband Sid and four young children in 1975. When she suddenly lost contact her family tried to find her through the Red Cross and Salvation Army. But her family have since discovered the accident left her struggling to remember her real identity - at one point referring to herself as Katie.
Dawn at first thought she was being duped when a message appeared on Facebook. “We thought it might be a trick, but as soon as we were sent photos we immediately knew it was her,” she said. “It’s a mix of huge relief and sadness.”
Parents Mavis and Colin died three years ago having refused to move from their home of 60 years in case Susan came looking for them. Susan now has grandchildren she has never met.
Susan stayed with several families in South Africa, helping around homes as a maid, and even battled breast cancer.
Dawn said the next fight is to prove who Susan is to the passport and identity authority so they can secure her the documentation to return to Rotherham. “It’s very hard as we don’t have any paperwork as it was such a long time ago,” added Dawn.