A Dundee man has found the father he has spent his life wondering about, only to discover he had died just weeks earlier.
Marcus Stewart has not seen his father, Ken Brown, since he was a baby and was shocked to see him in a news article.
But it was an emotional rollercoaster for the 47-year-old as he read that his father had recently died in Yorkshire.
It comes after an appeal by Ken’s neighbour to find his family following his death, so she could return his belongings to them.
Marcus, from Menzieshill, said: “I just went ‘oh my goodness – that’s my dad’.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, I was completely taken aback.”
Marcus said when he took a closer look at Monday’s article about the hunt for Ken’s family, he became even more sure.
Kenneth, who died aged 70 on June 8, grew up in Stobswell but moved to Cleckheaton, near Leeds, more than 20 years ago.
Around nine years ago he met Julie Goshawk who was his neighbour and she became a friend.
When he died he was so alone that Julie organised his cremation and when she found some of Kenneth’s belongings, including photographs and paperwork about his time in Dundee she decided to try to trace his family.
“I always wondered”
Marcus said: “I always wondered about him.
“My mum and dad separated when I was nine months old and he was never mentioned again.
“I never felt I could ask my mum about him because I always got the impression things had ended really badly between them.
“Mum married again and that was the end of it. She now lives in Aberdeenshire.”
Marcus also never felt he could go looking for his dad.
He said: “I always thought that if he wanted to come find me he would.
“When he never did I decided to just leave it.
“That doesn’t mean though that I haven’t wondered about him.”
When Marcus saw that Julie had contacted DC Thomson to try to get help finding Kenneth’s family he decided he would ask his mum about it.
“I just double checked his date of birth with her and she confirmed it was the same,” he said.
“I was then left in no doubt that this is my dad.”
Marcus said the discovery had opened up mixed emotions for him.
He said: “I’m happy, emotional, sad and upset that I’ve found my dad but a few weeks too late.
“It’s going to be great to be able to find out more about him but it’s a shame it has come after this death.”
Marcus, who has six children of his own, hopes he may be able to track down more relatives he did not know he had.
“It will be great for my kids to learn more about their grandad,” he added.
Marcus said he had already contacted Julie and was planning to meet up with her in the near future when she travels to Scotland to scatter her own parents’ ashes.
He said: “This is really emotional but it means that I can be given my dad’s ashes to decide what to do with them.”
Julie will also be able to give Marcus photographs and other things she has belonging to Kenneth.
Marcus said: “When I spoke to Julie we were both nearly in tears. I’m so glad that she decided to try to trace Kenneth’s family.
“It means such a lot to me to finally find out about him.”
Julie said she is glad she decided to contact DC Thomson to return Ken’s belongings to his family.
“This is amazing,” she said.
“I hoped when I contacted the paper in Dundee that it might help me trace Kenneth’s family.
“I never expected it to happen so quickly. I am glad I turned detective.
“No one should die alone and should lay with family when then pass away and be treated with respect.
“Hopefully now that I have found Marcus this can happen for Kenneth. He was such a sweet decent man.
“However, in the nine years he was my neighbour he was pretty much alone. I am delighted I have been able to do this for him.
“I’m really emotional about everything that has happened and can’t wait to meet Marcus.”