The amazing story of a Derry woman’s search for her long lost father will be revealed on television next week.
Wendy O’Hagan, who grew up in the Bogside in the 1970s, will feature in the award-winning ITV series ‘Long Lost Family’ in which presenters Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell try to reunite relatives after years of separation.
Thirty-six-year old Wendy tells the programme that, aged just seven, her mum, Sarah, confessed to her that her father was an American sailor called Grant.
Sarah told her daughter that she was deeply in love with him and that the pair had a relationship before he was suddenly forced to leave the country. Sarah was heartbroken and especially devastated when she discovered she was pregnant with his child.
She later discovered he had been posted to sea and the pair began writing.
The programme reveals that, seven months later, Sarah gave birth to Wendy and immediately sent Grant a photograph of their newborn baby.
But she heard nothing back, and, after repeatedly trying to get in contact, she eventually gave up, believing he had met someone else and moved on.
Then, when Wendy was a teenager, she discovered that her grandfather, in a desperate attempt to protect his daughter, had intercepted the letters Grant had sent and concealed them from Sarah.
Wendy explains how, over the years, she never stopped thinking of her father and spent hours at the computer trying to discover where he was. She managed to find an old colleague of his who was able to give her an old photo.
Wendy says: “I thought a photo would have been enough. I was so excited. But it’s not. I just need to know who he is. I need to know him and, maybe, understand why he hasn’t come looking. I would like to know.”
Long Lost Family’s search led to the town of Albuquerque in New Mexico where Grant now lives.
He reveals to Nicky Campbell that he has treasured the tiny photo of Wendy ever since he received it.
He says: “I looked at that picture a lot for a long time.”
Grant explains that he never heard back from Sarah and he assumed she had forgotten about him and moved on with her life. He is stunned when Nicky reveals that his letters were intercepted.
Davina McCall then tells Wendy that her father has been found and is making the 5,000 mile journey to meet her.