Exclusive: 'Boozy aunt's quick question at party uncovered family secret ....

Started by LifeOfPi, Apr 15, 2023, 02:34 PM

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Exclusive: 'Boozy aunt's quick question at party uncovered family secret and changed my life'

Lee Langton and Stephen Dearden meet for first time on new BBC show Reunion Hotel, yet their paths had crossed before.

By Lydia Veljanovski Features Writer

17:51, 5 Apr 2023 Updated 09:52, 6 Apr 2023

Seven years ago Lee Langton was at a party at his aunt Liz's house. It was a typical house party filled with friends and family, where they told jokes and ate Chinese food. And then his world changed forever.  His aunt, after a few drinks, asked him if he ever saw his brother Richard. "I was like who is Richard?!," says Lee, a tour manager from London. That's when Liz told him.

Lee was surprised to learn that he had an older brother, something his mother Annie Langton, who passed away in 1999 aged 56, had kept a secret all these years.  And now Alex Jones' new BBC TV show Reunion Hotel has helped bring the pair together.  Seeing each other for the first time was an emotional experience for the long lost brothers.  Richard, who is actually called Stephen Dearden, explains, "There's an awful lot of apprehension involved in meeting a sibling for the first time. I didn't know exactly what to expect but once we got talking, we just got on like a house on fire."

Stephen, 59, a private taxi driver from Salford knew he was adopted since he was about five years old, but his adoptive father had told him an untrue story about his mother.  "He said that your mother was a loose woman and she used to go around with long distance lorry drivers, and I was subject to that, and she got rid of me straight away," he explains.

In fact this couldn't have been further from the truth, Annie had worked in a bank and looked after her son for six months, before having to give him up because there was no welfare state in the 1960s, and as a single mother she didn't have the funds.  Lee was able to set the record straight by showing his siblings his mother's diary, which was kept by the phone.  Annie, who was friends with Led Zeppelin manager Peter Grant and ran in trendy circles, had penned an asterisk next to the date of her first born's birthday.  "I'd always felt rejected being put up for adoption and into an orphanage," Stephen says.

However, knowing that his mother had tried to keep him, and never forgot about him, has completely altered his perspective.  "I wish I could have put my arms around her and said thank you for giving me life," he says.

Aside from the two brother's having finally reunited after all these years, what is most surprising is how much in common they have, not least a love of rock music, and that it's likely they have met before.  "There were many incidents where we almost met, which is very weird. It was like it was meant to happen," says Lee.

In 1982 Stephen was working at Butlins in Pwllheli, South Wales, which was the same year that Lee holidayed there with their mother, Annie.  "I went to art college, so did he. We both studied Fine Art. We like the same bands, we've been to the same gigs. When I met him, it was almost like, I'd never not known him," says Lee.

"We talked about what bands we liked, and I said, 'I've been a Kiss fan since I was 11. He said, 'They're my favourite band' and showed me a photograph of him dressed as Gene Simmons at a gig I was at two years ago!"

The duo have since met with other family members, headed to a rock concert together and are planning on making many more memories moving forward.  "We described it as a circle, becoming one again and like two pieces of a puzzle it just seems so natural," Lee says.