Fenland publican ends long-lost daughter’s 46-year search as a family is united in America
A FENLAND publican is still smiling from the happiest two weeks of his life after travelling across the Atlantic to be united with the long-lost daughter he never knew existed.
Malcolm Carter left the country for the first time to visit his 46-year-old daughter Christina Bellars-Strait, who found her father in October after a 27-year search.
Christina, a bingo caller from Texas, had read an article reporting the 11th hour rescue of Malcolm’s pub, The Carpenters Arms in Coates, near Whittlesey, on the Cambs Times website.
A late-night conversation conducted over Facebook soon revealed that not only did the 67-year-old have a daughter, but he also had a son, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren - all of whom he knew nothing about.
The shock discovery prompted Malcolm, and his grandson Marty Charlton, to borrow money from a friend to fund their trip to Austin, Texas.
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“It was the happiest two weeks of my life and it wasn’t enough,” said Malcolm. “It was out of this world. We didn’t want to come back.
“I talked to Christina for so long every day – we had 46 years to catch up on. I feel like I have got something back that was missing – and it’s back to stay.”
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Malcolm and Marty, who applied for their first passports in order to make the journey, stepped off the plane to find their new relatives waiting for them - along with an entire camera crew from American television station KXAN.
“Nervous doesn’t even do it justice,” said Malcolm. “When I saw her at the airport I was speechless. We just hung onto each other and that was it. We couldn’t move.
“It’s still really emotional. When I talk to people about it I just can’t look them in the eye without crying.
“Everywhere I went people would shake my hand. We were like celebrities. She had told everyone that her dad was coming to see her. She said our trip was the best Christmas present possible.”
Christina’s mother, Janice Bellars, who died 12 years ago, had conducted a two-month affair with Malcolm after the pair met in Peterborough in the 1960s.
Christina, who moved to America with her mother when she was just 10 months old, had spent thousands of pounds and over a quarter of a century striving to find her father.
Speaking from her home in Texas, Christina said it had been an amazing two weeks, which had “filled a void in her heart”.
She said: “I hope my experience gives people a lot of encouragement that they could also find their biological parents. You can’t ever give up.”
A delighted Malcolm has marked the occasion by having the names of his daughter and grand-daughter tattooed on his arm.
And the miraculous story took one final twist six days into their trip, as Marty heard news from his girlfriend back in England. The 24-year-old is also set to become a father.
“Everybody kept saying he’s like a chip off the old block,” joked Malcolm. “It’s still like a dream.”
Mr Carter has yet to meet his newly discovered son, who lives in England.