A 50-year-old man is looking forward to the “best present ever” when he enjoys Christmas Day with his father for the first time.
Westley Grey, who lives near Greenock, Inverclyde, had never met his father until October this year when he travelled to the US. Along with his twin brother David, Westley started searching for his birth father after his mother Thomasina died. They knew that he had served in the US Navy and eventually tracked him down to Texas.
Westley Sr Moorehead joined the US Navy in 1945 aged 17. In the early 1960s he was stationed at Holy Loch in Argyll and Bute, which was a US nuclear submarine base during the Cold War.
While there he met Thomasina and the couple fell in love, but shortly afterwards Westley Sr was sent to the Caribbean during the Cuban missile crisis and later to war in Vietnam. Just after he left, Thomasina discovered she was pregnant with twins but had no way of contacting Westley Sr, who had no idea until David found him in the US.
David travelled alone to Texas to meet his father, who is now 84, and discovered that he and his brother have three stepsisters and a stepbrother.
Westley, who has learning difficulties and lives in supported accommodation run by Quarriers, held a series of fundraisers and together with money given to him by the charity, eventually raised enough for him and two of his support workers to join David on a flight to meet Westley Sr, who had since moved to Tennessee. Their October flight was delayed due to Hurricane Sandy but the wait was worth it for the 50-year-old.
“It’s been the best year of my life and now I can’t wait to see my dad for the first time in my life on Christmas day when I Skype him. That’s the best Christmas present I could ever want,” Westley said.
“It was the most amazing moment in my life to have finally met my dad for the first time.
“I waited 50 years for to see him and was completely lost for words when I first saw him. I just gave him a big hug.”
Westley met his stepbrothers and sisters as well as his stepmother Bernadine, who had dementia. Six weeks after the visit, Bernadine died.
Westley Snr had heart surgery earlier this year and has moved to Tennessee to live with his daughter.
Speaking from his home, Westley Snr said: “I felt blessed to have met Westley and David for the first time in my life.
“It was incredibly emotional to have met Westley, I will never forget the moment I first saw him.
“The past few months have been a rollercoaster of emotions — meeting Westley for the very first time and then losing my wife. I’m extremely glad though that they managed to meet before Bernadine died.”
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