A GRANDMOTHER who spent her whole life thinking she was an only child has found three sisters she never knew existed, thanks to a story in the Adver.

Christine Shurey, 70, of Greenmeadow, only found out she was adopted two years ago after a family member who knew the truth read an appeal to find her in the paper.

Her younger sisters, Pam Harrison, 68, Sandra Lacey, 67, and Jackie Cruse, 66, had been searching for years to find her and had even hired a genealogist to track her down before contacting the paper.

All four sisters and their families – around 50 people all together – were at the Shield and Dagger pub, in Thames Avenue, on Saturday night, to be reunited for the first time.

Christine said: “My auntie saw the story in the paper and thought I had to be told. I phoned Sandra and said ‘I think you’re looking for a sister, it’s in the paper’.

“Then I said ‘I think I might be the one’. That was it, we were shouting and screaming then.

“It had all been top secret all my life. I had a few tears that night when I found out, it was all such a shock.

“I haven’t just got one sister, but three, and nieces and nephews I didn’t know I had.

“We clicked as soon as we met. It is lovely that we get on so well. It’s just a shame it took so long to come out.

All four sisters share the same father, William Harrison, but Christine was adopted by Bill and Lilian Bird after her mother, Edith, died when she was born.

William and Edith already had a son called James, known as Jimmy, but he continued to live with William after Edith died.

Their father remarried and had Pam, Sandra and Jackie. The trio heard about Christine when they were children.

They started looking for her in the 1990s but started putting their all into the search in 2004. They paid £300 to Norcap, which specialises in finding adopted adults, and also paid £500 for a genealogist but still had no luck.

Sandra, who lives in Norfolk, contacted the Adver in 2010 because she believed Christine had family in Swindon. She said: “Jimmy died the day before he was 10 and three weeks later our father died. Our mum was a young widow with three daughters and went home to her family in Bristol, so we moved away from the area.

“Our mother died when we were teenagers so there was nobody left to tell us the real story. We looked and looked for Christine and couldn’t find her. I just couldn’t believe it when she phoned. I phoned Pam and Jackie straight away and we cried. There were lots of tears.”

Christine’s aunt and uncle, Sheila and Ray Alexander, of Moredon , saw the story in the Adver.

Sheila said: “When I saw it in the paper I went hot and cold. I didn’t quite know how to tell her. It was difficult.

“But I’m glad I told her now. It is a nice feeling seeing them all together. It’s wonderful.”

The family were also celebrating Christine’s 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday, as she tied the knot with Michael Shurey on September 1, 1962 at St Barnabus Church, Gorse Hill .