Pensioner thought brother was dead for 17 years before she saw Facebook post

A pensioner who presumed her brother was dead after not hearing from him in 17 years has been miraculously reunited with the long-lost family member thanks to a post on Facebook.

Lillian Carlton, 65, hadn’t seen elderly John Ellington since he walked out of her late sister’s house almost two decades ago.

But the 77-year-old, who now has dementia, told his carers at Aaron Grange Care Home in Liverpool that it was his Christmas wish to see his family again after they drifted apart.

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Dedicated staff decided to put a post on Facebook in the hope of finding his relatives alive and well – and after more than 2,000 people shared it, messages flooded in and Lillian quickly realised it was her brother who was reaching out.

She told theECHO: "I thought he was dead. The last time I saw him was at my sister Ann's house and he just disappeared one day. He walked away from everything.

"I was very nervous but excited and emotional. I just thought, 'I've got my brother back', it was a mix of emotions. I couldn't believe it.

"Seeing John again, my whole childhood has come flooding back to me, with some amazing memories. I’m so overwhelmed.”

Former soldier John, who “just disappeared one day”, had been holidayed around the world in the time since Lillian last saw him.

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Despite the dementia, he still remembered his little sister and shared an old joke that he used to say when he returned home from his job as a chef in the army.

Lillian said her eldest sons remember John from their childhoods and are excited to be reunited with him after Christmas, adding: "I'll never be able to thank the staff for everything they've done – it's incredible."

Amy Muscatelli, activities coordinator at Aaron Grange Care Home, gushed: “John was over the moon we were able to find Lillian and arrange the meet-up.

“We’re all so pleased for John and his family. We all cried happy tears together when they were finally reunited.”

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