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Memory loss mother reunited with family after 32 years

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Memory loss mother reunited with family after 32 years


Published by 24publishing for in Housing and also in Communities, Local Government

Memory loss mother reunited with family after 32 years Memory loss mother reunited with family after 32 years

A mother who lost her memory after a car crash in South Africa has been reunited with her family in the UK after 32 years.

Susan Marshall, aged 61, lost her memory after a car crash in South Africa and was missing presumed dead by her family in the UK.  Her late husband, with whom she had had a stormy relationship, survived the same crash but told her children she had abandoned them and her family were unable to trace her, despite years of trying.

Susan had been flung from the car in the accident and landed in a farmer’s field.  She suffered severe amnesia as a result of her head injuries and was unable to remember anything about her life, not even her own name. She had no passport or documentation to help identify her name or nationality.

The family who owned the field looked after her and amazingly, she ended up living with them for 16 years. Only recently did her memory begin to return and with the help of new friends in South Africa she was able to re-establish contact through Facebook with her astonished but overjoyed family in England.

She was flown home last month with the help of Virgin Airlines, the Foreign Office and a national newspaper to an emotional reunion with her brother and sisters at Manchester airport.

Local housing provider Guinness Northern Counties has found her a flat at Birch Park Court, its sheltered housing and general needs scheme in Holmes, Rotherham which has been home to four generations of her family.

“It’s great to be home and to be with my family again” said Susan. “I’ve been living with my sister Gail in Meadowbank since I got back and gradually getting used to everything and I’m looking forward to having my own flat at Birch Park Court. My sister Julie has a flat here and so too does my brother in law, Gary, and my nephew Kevin. My other sister Dawn and brother Colin live just a few minutes away in Meadowbank so we’re all able to see each other whenever we want. I never want to move from here now.“

Being reunited with one of her four grown up children Adele, 37, has been a particularly emotional experience for Susan. Her daughters Joanne, 43, and Amanda, 38, no longer live in Yorkshire and Susan is to meet them at the end of November, and the family are now trying to trace her son Jason, 40, with whom they had lost touch.

Susan’s sister Gail Lewin, 54, said: “We’ve all got a lot of catching up to do but at the moment we’re just taking everything one day at a time” says Gail. “We’re all helping Susan to acclimatise to her new life and get settled in her new home.

“Because she only came here on an emergency passport there was quite a lot of red tape to be got through in order to get her here but Guinness Northern Counties have been really helpful at every stage. They’ve let us decorate the flat how Susan wants it and they’re going to put new carpets down for her.”

The family are now rallying round to help Susan to furnish the flat, as she arrived with almost nothing of her own. “We’re asking friends, neighbours and anyone with any spare furniture or household items the can donate to help us furnish and equip the flat” she said. “We want to make it feel like a proper home for her after all these years away.”

Picture: Susan Marshall (front row, centre) pictured at Birch Park Court, Rotherham with members of her family and staff from Guinness Northern Counties and Guinness Care & Support 


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