Family tracks down long-lost brother in Canterbury

Phil Radford was adopted as a baby and never knew his birth family until he got a call from his...
Phil Radford was adopted as a baby and never knew his birth family until he got a call from his long-lost sister in the United Kingdom. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Canterbury man Phil Radford had no idea his life could be changed so much by just one Facebook message.

Radford, 49, was adopted when he was five-weeks-old, and recently received a message from a woman specialising in reconnecting people. She said he had a sister in England who wanted to contact him.

“I wasn’t sure if it was a wind-up or something," Radford said.

"I opened the message and the thing that made me think it was real is when I was five-weeks-old, I was adopted and she had mentioned my birth name Chris James Dooks.

“I was a bit stunned but thought why not?

"Let’s reconnect and it just sort of went from there. I ended up talking to my sister about half an hour later."

His sister, Becca Main, lives in York and helped connect him with his birth mother, also in York, within a matter of hours.

“It turns out I have got two sisters, three nieces, two nephews, a couple of uncles and about five or six cousins I never knew.

“It has been absolutely amazing.

"When it first happened I wasn’t actually very emotional about it, I was just numb but now it has started to kick in. I never could have expected this.”

He has also spoken directly with his other sister Nic Dooks and brother-in-law John Main.

Becca Main, Rosie Wall and Nic Dooks. Photo: Supplied
Becca Main, Rosie Wall and Nic Dooks. Photo: Supplied
Radford is a member of the Greendale Golf Club and is currently living at the site in a campervan.

He is doing some work on the clubrooms as a thank you for letting him stay on the grounds temporarily.

He was raised by his two loving adoptive parents and was an only child. He moved to New Zealand from Bradford, England, in 2006.

“My adoptive parents passed away at quite a young age so that was quite hard for me.

"They were truly amazing. I only really had my cousins on my dad’s side and they’re all very happy for me.”

He hopes to visit his birth family in England sometime next year.

“There is a definite bond there. It is like we have never been apart, it is crazy.

"The sister who found me and I have become quite close very quickly.

“My mum just wanted to know I had gone to a good home. She had thought about it for 49 years.

"I told her my adoptive parents were fantastic and if they were still alive I’m sure they would want to meet her as well,” he said.






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