AN OVERWHELMED Kidderminster family will be making an emotional trip to Jamaica later this year to meet relatives they never knew they had.
Lyndsey James was on holiday in the Caribbean with his partner Cher and six-year-old son Tyler when a casual conversation with a taxi driver about his father’s Jamaican heritage sparked the amazing discovery.
The stunned 62-year-old uncovered a host of new branches to his family tree including cousins living in Greenhill in Jamaica – where his father Sidney was born – and from Canada where some of his relatives have emigrated.
Mr James, who is a private hire car driver now living in Blakedown, is now taking his sisters Carol and Trudi and brother Stuart to Jamaica where there will be a huge reunion.
Their father left Jamaica in 1941 to join the RAF and fight in the Second World War. He moved to Kidderminster but sadly died in 1982 aged 62.
Mr James said his father rarely talked about his time in Jamaica and came over to Europe seeking better opportunities.
He said: “I just cannot believe it. I am still absolutely flabbergasted about it all and it was difficult to take it all in.
“I just started talking to this taxi driver and told him my dad was from Greenhill in Jamaica and he asked if I wanted to see the village. I agreed and we went the next day.
“We went into the local school and were shown a register which went back more than a 100 years and I was shocked to see my father’s name there.
“We then walked into the village and started speaking to people to see if they knew my father and we were just about to give up when we spoke to a woman in the post office.
“She phoned a man, Victor Callum, who turned up around 10 minutes later. When I asked him if he knew my father Sidney, he told me his mother was called Ivy and that she was my dad’s sister! You could have knocked me down with a feather.
“I phoned my sister to tell her and she was stunned into silence. It is all so unbelievable. When I tell people about it, they get emotional and there are lots of tears.
“I also met my Uncle Cecil Brown – my dad’s half-brother. He is the only surviving brother and he was just 12 months when my father left Jamaica so had never even seen him. That was incredibly emotional.
“Since then, we have found around 16 first cousins and more than 30 second cousins. My dad’s other sister Ruby had 11 children and eight of them are still alive. Seven of them moved to Canada.
“I have met some of them in Jamaica but I am going back with my sisters and brother so they can meet them for the first time too. Four of our Canadian relatives will be flying over as well. It will be emotional.”