WHEN Yvonne Wilkinson opened her front door she did not expect to find her long-lost sister standing there with a huge bunch of flowers.
But that’s exactly what happened to the 71-year-old when she finally met her half-sister Brenda Ord, who was adopted as a baby.
Brenda, 68, travelled from her home in South Shields, near Newcastle, to surprise her.
The pair had never met before but, after a long search, were finally brought together by Yvonne’s granddaughter Kerry McCloud.
Yvonne, from Dayshes Close in Bridgemary, embraced her younger sister with a huge hug.
She said: ‘It’s hard to believe. It was a big surprise. It’s just wonderful that it’s finally happened.
It’s hard to believe. It was a big surprise. It’s just wonderful that it’s finally happened.Yvonne Wilkinson
‘I had no idea. My grandchildren had kept it such a big secret.
‘When we first saw the picture of Brenda all my children said “she’s got to be your sister, you look so much like her”. We’ve got so many things to talk about.’
Yvonne was put in a children’s home when she was young and her grandfather took her out of the home and moved her to Gosport when she was 10. It was only then she learnt that she had a half-sister.’
Brenda said: ‘When I was in my early 30s I tried to find Yvonne. I had known since I was 13 that I had a sister. But I couldn’t find her.
‘Then in January I had a phone call. I was thrilled and shocked that it had happened after all these years.’
The pair had arranged to meet in May but Brenda, who had been forced to postpone an earlier meeting between the pair after falling ill, decided to surprise her older sister by turning up unannounced.
‘I was very nervous. I was shaking more than normal,’ she said.
‘I was trying to hide behind the flowers so she didn’t see me straight away. It was absolutely brilliant.’
Kerry, 33, arranged for afternoon tea to be delivered to Yvonne’s house so the pair had a chance to catch up.
‘I am so happy to have happy families. My mum will be so proud and happy that it’s happened,’ she said.