Wigan man discovers long lost family members on TV show

A man from Wigan has featured in an award-winning TV show with an incredible and moving story of his quest to find missing relatives.

By Holly Pritchard
Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th June 2022, 2:32 pm

The popular programme, Long Lost Family, continued into series 12 as episode three aired this week with the story of Roy Sibblies, a 52-year-old from Wigan, who spent his childhood not knowing that the woman bringing him up was not his biological mother.

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With the help from a team of trained intermediaries, DNA experts and investigators, Nicky Campbell and Davina McCall set out to find Roy’s family.

Pictured: Searcher Roy (2nd right) reunited with his sister Jo (3rd right) and brother Dan (left) joined by Roys father Eccelston (4th right). (C) Wall To Wall

Roy had a happy childhood with his black Jamaican dad, Eccleston, and his white British mum, Joan.

But as a young man, when signing papers to join the Navy, he needed his birth certificate and it was at that point when Eccelston explained that “your mum Joan isn’t actually your mum”.

Eccelston explained that Roy’s birth mother, a lady called Janet with whom who he’d had a relationship as a young man, did not want to give Roy up, but she was living with her parents and they, due to the social attitudes of the 1960s, felt concerned about a young, interracial couple raising a child.

Eccleston was adamant that his son would not go to someone else.

Archive Collect picture shows: Searcher Roy as a young boy visiting a Zoo (C) Wall To Wall

Instead, he raised him and when he met Joan and married, they brought Roy up together.

In the episode, Roy said: “To give a baby up because of…the colour of their skin…That cuts really, really deep to the core.

"It’s important for me to know whether she regrets her decision.”

Upon this discovery, Roy began to search for Janet, but without much information he struggled.

Archive Collect picture shows : Searcher Roy as a baby This photograph is (C) Wall To Wall

Sadly, Janet died in 2019 but the team managed to find two siblings, Jo and Dan, who explained that their mother had felt pressure from her parents and did indeed regret giving Roy up.

They had always known about him, and remember “on Roy’s birthday every year, she always used to say, “happy birthday” and she told everyone that she had three children.

Jo and Dan are excited to continue to share the memories of their mother with Roy.

Archive Collect picture shows : Janet (deceased 2019)…Searcher Roy’s with mother. Photograph (C) Wall To Wall.
Roy Sibblies, from Wigan, was given up as a baby because of the colour of his skin. Photograph (C) Wall To Wall.
(C) Wall To Wall Pictured: (l-r) Searcher Roy 52yrs with his wife Gill (right) and their two grandsons, and granddaughter Left to right: Roy (Searcher), Tyler (older boy), Brock (held by Tyler), Gill (Roy's wife), granddaughter Sophia"