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From Australia to Harold Hill: Woman’s search for father she never met

Janet Serle, left, aged 18, and Jeanette McCheyne, right, aged 16 Janet Serle, left, aged 18, and Jeanette McCheyne, right, aged 16

Friday, May 2, 2014
11:58 AM

A woman will embark on an emotional round-the-world trip to search for her father she has never met - and who may not even know she exists.

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Tracey Dean, of Queensland, Australia will celebrate her 50th birthday next year by visiting England for the first time since leaving as a three-month-old baby.

She was born in Romford in October 1965 to Jeanette McCheyne, a 16-year-old schoolgirl who met Tracey’s father, a man named Tony, in Hammersmith Palais, a London nightclub, after sneaking in with friend Janet Serle in December 1964 or January 1965.

The girls both lived in Harold Hill estate but were forbidden from contacting each other due to the scandal surrounding the pregnancy.

Tracey was raised by her grandparents in Australia believing Jean was her sister until she was told at the age of 15.

She is now hoping to track down Janet as her boyfriend at the time knew Tony, a tailor in Edgeware Road whose surname started with a D.

“I understand Tony would be in his early 70s if he is still alive,” said Tracey. “Janet’s boyfriend was friends with Tony so there is a chance he may know Jean was pregnant.

“I know this is a long shot but ever since I discovered my grandparents were not my parents not a day goes by that I haven’t wanted to know who my real father is.

“It caused a lot of pain and suffering in the family. This journey is not an easy one, and has opened up a can of worms and emotions as I have been seeking information from my family.”

Jean, who now lives in Western Australia, went to Harrowfield Secondary Modern School in Settle Road, Harold Hill and Janet attended Quarles Secondary Modern School in the nearby Tring Gardens.

Tracey’s friend Jessica Putt said: “Any information will be amazing. Everyone deserves to know who their parents are.”

Do you have any information that could help Tracey in her search? Email sam.gelder@archant.co.uk or call 020 8477 3810.

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