Wigan dad to be reunited with son after 44 years

A Wigan dad is set to be reunited with his long lost son after more than 40 years apart.

Father of five David Hern from Norley last saw Paul on a trip to Windsor Castle for his second birthday.

He spent years trying to find the boy but kept getting blocked at every turn following a breakdown in the relationship with Paul’s mother.

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David, who was a former grenadier guard, said: “I’ve been trying ever since to find him.

David with his son Martin and 16-month-old grandson Alex
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“Every time I tried to see him, my ex-wife would send him off somewhere and wouldn’t let me have access.

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“It was so frustrating. Everyone knew about him and knew who he was.”

However a chance encounter has led to the family discovering that Paul now lives with his wife Stacy and daughter in London.

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David Hern is set to reunite with his son after more than 40 years

David’s daughter Amy was researching the family tree when they found out more details about Paul.

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David’s son Martin said: “We’ve always known we’ve had a long lost brother.

“We have tried previously to search for Paul on Facebook but to no avail as we didn’t really have any details.

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“Amy wanted to learn about the family history and when she started putting it together on the family tree she asked for his last name which led to us finding out he had a double-barrelled last name so was actually called Paul Hern-Smith.

David Hern pictured with his son Paul
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“We tried again to search for him on Facebook and Amy found him and asked my dad whereabouts he lived and it all linked up. So we decided to give him a message and see what happened.

“But he didn’t use Facebook much so we ended up contacting his wife who put us in contact. We ended up having a video call that night which was very emotional.

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“My dad couldn’t believe it when I gave him Paul’s number. He was in tears.”

David added: “I was so overwhelmed when he gave it me, I was shaking.

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Paul Hern-Smith now, right with his step-daughter

“I just couldn’t believe they found him.

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Paul, who is now 46, told the Wigan Observer: “I was gobsmacked. I had spent years trying to find my dad but had very little information from my mum. I didn’t even know if he was still alive.

“As life went on, trying to find him got put on the back burner and didn’t think anything of it.

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“It was Stacy who encouraged me to keep searching for some family and we were looking but struggled to find anything.

“I didn’t have the best upbringing and haven’t spoken to my mum in years.

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“To find out I had all these brothers and sisters out of the blue was surreal.

“I’ve spoke to my dad a few times on the phone now which is amazing.”

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The family are now planning a trip to see Paul in London on February 13.

Paul added: “I’m really looking forward to seeing him but I’m also nervous at the same time.

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“It’s one thing talking on the phone but seeing him in person will be strange at first.

“They’re going to come to the house first and I expect there will be lots of tears.”

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David said: “Originally it was just me going down to see him but now all my children are coming too.

“I feel incredibly nervous about seeing him for the first time since he was two but excited to see what happens next.”

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Martin added: “Growing up knowing about him but not being able to find him is crazy.

“I am so excited to see him. I’ve booked some time off to work to go down so we can finally meet up.”

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