Woman devastated after hearing one of her long lost sisters has died

Woman, 60, who was locked in a cupboard by abusive grandparents is reunited with long lost sibling who wishes they’d shared her ‘wonderful life with adoptive family’

  • Susane King, 60, from Cornwall, appears on ITV’s Long Lost Family on Monday 
  • The foster parent searches for her two siblings, who were adopted as children
  • During the episode, airing at 9pm, the team make a heartbreaking discovering 
  • Susane’s sister Lorna Johnson died in 1991, leaving five children behind

A woman who suffered a tough upbringing with her grandparents has been reunited with a long lost sibling who wishes they’d shared her ‘wonderful life with her adoptive family’. 

Susane King, 60, from Cornwall, appears on ITV’s Long Lost Family on Monday as she searches for her two siblings, who were adopted while she was raised by her ‘archaic grandparents’.

Offering ‘no cuddles or love’, Susane recalls how they would lock their granddaughter in a cupboard under the stairs if they thought she had been troublesome, adding that her grandfather ‘was quickest with his fist and temper’.

During the episode, the team make a heartbreaking discovering. Susane’s sister Lorna Johnson died in 1991, leaving five children behind before her untimely death.

Thankfully, the researchers also find Susane’s other sister Donna, who lives in Bigbury-on-Sea, in Devon, and had a happy adoption. Donna is shocked to discover Susane’s awful upbringing and insists if her adoptive mother knew, she would’ve taken her in, so they could share the ‘wonderful life’.

A woman who suffered a tough upbringing with her grandparents has been reunited with a long lost sibling who wishes they’d shared her ‘wonderful life with her adoptive family’. Pictured: Searcher Susanne King with found sister Donna

Susane King, 60, from Cornwall, appears on ITV’s Long Lost Family on Monday as she searches for her two siblings, who were adopted while she (pictured as a child) was raised by her ‘archaic grandparents’

Susane and her husband have been foster parents for over twenty years, with Susane explaining: ‘It’s what we enjoy, being there for them and caring…’, something which she did not have in her own childhood.

Susane’s mother was young when she gave birth and was unable to care for her child, so she was raised by her grandparents.

Remembering this, Susane says: ‘I had quite a difficult childhood. Their approach to bringing up children was quite archaic. There were no cuddles, no love. 

‘My grandfather had a very, very quick temper and he was usually quicker with his fist than anything. Sometimes when they said I was naughty they would lock me in a cupboard under the stairs.’ 

It was here, under the stairs, that Susane overheard a family secret – she wasn’t the only child her mother had given birth to. 

The researchers find Susane’s sister Donna (pictured together), who lives in Bigbury-on-Sea, in Devon, and had a happy adoption

It wasn’t until years later that Susane dared confront her grandmother who confirmed that she had two sisters, Julie and Linda, who had been adopted. 

Reflecting on her discovery, Susane says: ‘I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I was really desperate to find them. I can only hope they had a better life than me. 

‘I need to find them, they are my sisters, my flesh and blood,’ she added. ‘I don’t know anything about my sisters, the only thing to tell me they exist is their birth certificates. 

‘I have no idea what they look like, I don’t know where they live. I don’t even know if they’re still around,’ says Susane, who has her siblings’ birth certificates framed and hanging on the walls of her home.

Using a registered intermediary social worker, the Long Lost Family team discover the identity of the eldest child, Julie. Her adopted name was Lorna Johnson and she’d married in 1978, aged 18.

During the episode, the team make a heartbreaking discovering. Susane’s sister Lorna Johnson died in 1991, leaving five children behind before her untimely death. Pictured, Donna, Susane 

But from the early 1990s the researchers can’t find any evidence of Lorna and sadly discover that she had died in 1991.

Susane is given the news away from the cameras but later shares her heartache – breaking down in tears as co-presenter Davina McCall comforts her.

‘It was devastating,’ she admits. ‘It wasn’t the news I expected or wanted because I’ll never get to meet her.’ 

Hoping to bring Susane some happier news, the researchers focuse on the other search and learn that the younger sister Linda, is now called Donna. 

Co-presenter Nicky Campbell visits her in Bigbury-on-Sea and when asked how she feels, Donna says: ‘Really excited, nervous, it was just so out of the blue.

Donna (pictured) is shocked to discover Susane’s awful upbringing and insists if her adoptive mother knew, she would’ve taken her in, so they could share the ‘wonderful life’

‘I was lucky I think,’ she adds, recalling her childhood as a happy one. ‘Growing up my adopted parents told me that I had an elder sister but I only thought I had one and I always thought that she stayed with our mother so it was always, you know, “why me? why was I put up for adoption?”, it was difficult. 

On seeing a photograph of Susane and learning that she has fostered over one-hundred children, Donna says: ‘I feel privileged she’s my sister, I can’t wait until we meet.’

She’s also told of Susane’s tough childhood, and insists: ‘To think, what kind of upbringing I had, to what kind of upbringing she had, if my adopted mum had knew, she would’ve taken her.

‘I’d always loved the thought of having a sister, and it’s so sad that until now we never met. At least I’ve got somebody who wants me, I feel special.’

Offering ‘no cuddles or love’, Susane (pictured) recalls how they would lock their granddaughter in a cupboard under the stairs if they thought she had been troublesome, adding that her grandfather ‘was quickest with his fist and temper’

In a letter given to Susane later on the programme, Donna admits: ‘I wish you could’ve shared the wonderful life I had.’

The team also contact Lorna’s eldest daughter Lorraine, who agrees to speak with her aunts, explaining: ‘I can pass on every single memory that I’ve got… I know they won’t get to see my mum in person, but they will be able to know what she was like.’ 

Susane and Donna meet at a pub in Plymouth not far from where Donna grew up and break down in tears and they share their first hug. 

They catch-up on the years they have missed and agree: ‘We can’t make up for fifty years, but we have to start from somewhere…’, while Donna says: ‘I felt as though I’ve known her forever.’

Though Susane and Donna will never get to meet their sister Lorna, her daughter Lorraine travels from Essex to be with them. 

On reflecting, Lorraine says: ‘It means a lot because I know it would mean a lot to my mum. Meeting my aunts is like getting a tiny bit of my mum back.’ 

Long Lost Family airs on Monday at 9pm 

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