‘Help me find my father’

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A MAN with connections to the Hartlepool Mail area is hoping for help to trace his father.

Paul Bennett-Todd would love to trace Peter Bennett and he believes his hope for success could lie in the Peterlee area.

Now in an impassioned plea, he has asked Family Roots followers to help. Paul told us: “I have been searching for my father Peter Bennett for many years.

“My father will now be aged in his late 70s and I believe that he may have been connected quite strongly with the County Durham area, possibly Peterlee.

“My granddad on my mothers side once told me that my father had told him that his family had relocated to Peterlee, as his father, (Peter’s father), was involved in the building of the town, possibly in the late 1940s.

“My granddad sadly passed away in 2004 so I have no further information.”

But Mr Bennett-Todd, now 53, did have some information to help us along the way. “It’s quite a romantic story really,” he said.

“My father Peter was a pilot, flying light aircraft commercially but I believe that he had also been in the RAF at one point. He and my mother Pauline met whilst she was working in the café/NAAFI at Yeadon Airport which is now Leeds/Bradford, sometime in 1958 or 1959. She also worked at RAF Church Fenton in the NAAFI around the same time.”

On occasion, Peter would fly into Yeadon Airport and then fly his wife to other parts of the country, wherever his job took him, where they would spend time together.

His parents separated in the 1960s and Peter was never seen again.

His son said: “I have never been able to establish exactly what he did as a job but I believe it is possible that he perhaps tested and delivered aircraft to flying schools around the country.”

His father may also have been associated with Croydon or other southern airports hosting a flying school and light aircraft, and possibly had connections in France.

Paul added: “My grandparents adopted me in 1963 and my mother moved to South Africa in 1969, where she lived until her death in 2010.

“Despite asking her many times, frustratingly, she was never forthcoming with information about my father, except, she gave me five photographs of him.

“I have been searching for him for many years and have followed many avenues, including all the obvious ones, but sadly without success.”

Paul added: “I realise that time is running out if I am ever to find my father whilst he is hopefully still alive, and with the strongest lead that I have being my fathers family’s connection with the North East”

Can you help? Can you ensure Paul is reunited with his father after all these years.

If anyone can shed light on this family mystery, get in touch by contacting Chris Cordner on (01429) 239377 or email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk