Brothers meet on Facebook

2014-02-25 00:00

TWO brothers, who live 85 km apart on KZN’s South Coast and had never met in 60 years have found each other using Facebook.

As an only child, Garth Garnham always told his friends at school that he “also had a brother”. It felt good saying it and gave him a sense of security, although he didn’t know his brother growing up. During his childhood he heard that his father had a son with his first wife and all his life, all Garnham wanted to do, was to try and make contact with him.

On his 60th birthday on January 10 this year his dream became a reality and he finally met the brother he had longed for, Robbie Tomsett.

Although Garnham knew about Tomsett’s existence, Tomsett never knew that he might have half-brothers and -sisters.

He was registered as a Garnham but after his mother’s second marriage when he was about six or seven years old, he was adopted by his stepfather and took his surname.

“In the late 70s we received a letter from Robbie’s then wife, Mary, with all his details and photographs of his military days. Apparently she and Robbie’s mother discussed the matter but for unknown reasons Robbie was never told that his father was alive, let alone that he might have other siblings besides his half-brother on his mother’s side,” Garnham said.

Their father died in 1979.

Armed with the information and after numerous failed attempts over the years to look for Tomsett, Garnham decided late last year to search for him on Facebook.

“I excitedly found the name and sent him a contact request to which he responded almost immediately,” he said.

Tomsett on the other hand was surprised, but not shocked.

“I wondered about it at times through the years but never took any action. When I got the mail from Garth I told him to substantiate what he was saying and he immediately sent me my old military photographs which were sent to them by Mary,” Tomsett said.

Ironically, after the two of them lived in various towns over the years, for the past couple of years they have been living only 85 km apart — Tomsett lives in Warner Beach and Garnham lives in Sea Park.

“After our first meeting, I lay in bed that night thinking how mind-boggling the whole thing was. It was the most fantastic feeling ever. We immediately formed a friendship and I intend to make time for each other and visit a lot,” Tomsett added.

On Tomsett’s birthday yesterday they met for the second time.

“It feels like I have known him all my life and we seem to have so much in common,” Garnham said.

It took them 60 years to find each other and now that they have, they will cherish their relationship.

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