A CHRISTMAS wish came true for a Merseyside care home resident after he was reunited with his estranged family – over 15 years since they last saw each other.
John Ellington, 77, told his carers at Aaron Grange Care Home, Blacklow Brow, Huyton, that he was one of nine siblings during a recent visit to the in-home salon.
Despite his advanced dementia, John recalled how they had drifted apart many years ago, and reminisced about his childhood and times with his family.
When asked if he’d like to see them again, John said: “It would be my Christmas wish.”
The care home’s activities coordinator, Amy Muscatelli, carers Sue Myler and Donna McKenna, and customer relations officer for the Hill Care Group, Ellen Sharp, came up with a plan to use social media to put out an appeal on John’s behalf.
Shortly after posting on Facebook, messages came flooding in from those who knew John or knew his family, including one from his sister Lillian Carlton’s friend.
Lillian, 65, who lives in St Helens, visited the care home the next day and was reunited around Christmas tree with her brother John for the first time in over 15 years.
She said: “I thought my brother had either moved abroad permanently or passed away a long time ago.
“John was in the army for over 18 years and then, when he left, he would holiday around the world – Turkey being his favourite destination.
“Because there were nine of us, it was hard to keep in contact all the time. Anne, our eldest sister, was the peacekeeper of the family and any family gatherings would be organised by her. When she passed away, these happened less and less.
“I went to visit John one day at his home where he lived with his partner, but I was told the relationship had ended and he no longer lived there. I didn’t see him again after that. That was over 15 years ago.”
John and Lillian are originally from Prescot, where they grew up with their siblings, Francis, Anne, Joan, Stephen, Alan, Lillian, Ian and Jeanette, and their mother Edith and father Joseph.
Lillian said: “Seeing John again, my whole childhood has come flooding back to me, with some amazing memories. I’m so overwhelmed.
“John has a lot of nieces and nephews who are really excited to be reunited with him. They never called him Uncle John when growing up, they called him soldier John.”
Amy Muscatelli, activities coordinator at Aaron Grange Care Home, said: “John was over the moon we were able to find Lillian and arrange the meet up.
“He was blown away we were able to get them back in contact and so thankful the staff had gone to the trouble of fulfilling his Christmas wish.
“We’re all so pleased for John and his family. We all cried happy tears together when they were finally reunited.”
Ellen Sharp, customer relations officer for the Hill Care Group, said: “I would like to thank those who helped share the post on Facebook, particularly the “Chat and Share Prescot” group and the “Rainhill Rocks” group, which are some of the communities the post reached and helped lead us to Lillian.
“Without them we couldn’t have brought John and his family back together again.”
Sarah Davies, home manager at Aaron Grange Care Home, added: “What a fantastic achievement that our staff was able to make John’s Christmas wish come true. I’m very proud of them.”