AN ACCRINGTON woman has been united with her long-lost sister, thanks to the Observer.
Cecilia Collard, of Church Street, always knew she had a sister, Caroline McCreary, although until recently she had no idea where to find her.
Last May Caroline, 67, placed an advert in the Observer all the way from her home in the United States. It brought the pair into contact and eventually led to them meeting up in Accrington earlier this month.
Cecilia, 56, said: "My son Vaughan saw the advert. He never usually buys the newspaper but for some reason he decided to get it that day and when he saw Caroline's name he realised she was trying to trace me.
"It was initially very surreal talking to her on the phone, but now we natter like we have grown up together. Caroline is very like my mother around the eyes and has many of her mannerisms. It must be in the genes.''
The sisters had never met before, as when Caroline's parents divorced, her Italian father remarried and she was placed in an orphanage. Meanwhile, her natural mother remarried and her half-sister Cecilia was born.
In 1956, at the age of 22, Caroline moved to Canada with her husband Bill. She remained there for 41 years until moving to her current home in Detroit, Michigan.
Both sisters knew of the other's existence, but Caroline never traced her family until after her stepmother's death.
Caroline said: "I have wanted to trace my family over here for a long time, but I was not sure how to go about doing it. Bill and I went on the Internet and we have had a lot of help from people over here.
"We found out that my sister lived in Accrington. Although we knew it was in the north of England, we still had to look it up on the map.
"I decided to place an advert in the Observer but I didn't think it had a chance of succeeding. I am totally amazed at what has happened.''