Hornchurch widower spends year getting to know long-lost daughter after decades apart
PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:47 23 December 2016
A pensioner who was found by his long-lost daughter after a 20-year search has spent the year getting to know her, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Widower Ted Buck, 78, of Bruce Avenue Hornchurch, was found by determined daughter Diane Rolls from Cardiff in October, last year after more than five decades apart.
He had been led to believe by Diane’s birth mother, that she’d had an abortion and so had no idea his daughter even existed.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic,” said Ted.
“What a lovely family [they are]. It’s a pity we are so far away.
“I went down to Cardiff for a week on a surprise visit. Her husband, John, booked a hotel for me. She [Diane] didn’t have a clue. I went down with a sat nav. It said you have reached your destination but I couldn’t find the hotel.
“John came and got me because he was home at that time. He knocked on the door and he shouted out ‘Diane come and give me a hand’ then she saw me and she was really pleased.”
In 1958, Ted had returned to England, after serving with the armed forces in Germany, to propose to his pregnant girlfriend who rejected him in a note, adding that the baby had been “rid” off.
“In those days that meant the baby had been aborted,” said Ted.
But Diane, 58, had in fact been adopted.
“Fifty-eight years,” continued Ted.
“I have missed so much and it wasn’t my fault. I never got to take her over the park, or buy her an ice-cream. It was taken away from me.”
Luckily, Diane began looking for her birth father after finding his name in a letter.
Encouraged by husband John, 59, Diane wrote to television shows including Surprise Surprise and Long Lost Family for help but to no avail.
Diane was told that an Edward Buck and his son had died but Ted was very much alive.
His full name is Edward G Buck and Diane had not given the initial to researchers.
Making one last attempt, Diane turned to a Facebook group and met with success.
“I mentioned the name of a factory, the Leather Cloth Company in West Ham, that I thought he had worked at and someone recognised his name,” said Diane.
She then wrote a letter to Ted, explaining she was researching her family tree and that she was also looking for her dad.
Things began to click into place for both of them during their first phone call and Ted realised the daughter, who he never knew existed, had found him.
The pensioner has also gained a son-in-law and a very large family.
“She has eight children and they’re my eight grandchildren and now I have 12 great-grand children and early next year it will be 14 because two of them are pregnant,” continued Ted.
“I don’t get a chance to speak to them with Diane on the phone all the time,” he said jokingly.
The Christmas period is usually a sad time for Ted as his beloved wife died in 2013, on New Years Eve.
Life was extremely lonely for him as they had no children and his only remaining relative is a brother who lives in Wales.
“Now I have something to live for,” continued Ted.
“I have met every one of them. As soon as I saw her, I knew she was my daughter. She’s the spitting image. Everything’s going well.”
Diane added: “We go and visit him every time I have a bit of holiday.
“We [Diane, John and their dog] came down for the summer holidays and spent a week with him and me and my daughter Patricia, 36, and grandson Alfie, seven, stayed for a few days.
“We have always kept in touch.”
Diane feels very close to her dad despite the years apart.
“It feels like he’s always been there,” she continued.
“He says what if I married her [birth mother] and brought me up, then I say I wouldn’t have met my husband, dad would’ve spoiled me rotten but I wouldn’t have had my children.
“I cannot wish for a better life. I’m happy with my life how its worked out. Now I have my dad it’s even better.”