A STEP-DAD and his step-son have been reunited after more than a decade apart thanks to the Hartlepool Mail.
Carl Robertson appeared in the Mail’s Together Again column on Tuesday appealing for help to find his step-dad Michael Bruce, who he had not seen in 13 years.
But just hours later, after Michael’s mum spotted her son in the paper and told him “you better get the Mail, someone’s looking for you”, the pair were chatting on the phone.
The Mail was there when the pair met up over a drink in the town’s King John’s Tavern after years of lost contact.
Michael, 52, said: “It’s been exciting and rather emotional to meet again. We have chatted as if I’d seen him only yesterday.”
Carl, 30, had even enlisted the help of researchers from ITV’s Jeremy Kyle Show last year to help in his search but had drawn a blank.
As reported in Tuesday’s Mail, Carl, who lives in the town’s Everett Street, had tried asking around town venues, including pubs Michael might frequent, but had had no luck in finding his step-dad, who he said he “saw as a father”.
But he said: “It’s fantastic, I don’t think I would have found him as quickly as I have without the newspaper.
“I wish I had done it 13 years ago.”
Michael, a carer who is from Hartlepool but has lived in Station Town for the past 15 years, said: “I had been shopping in Peterlee when I got a phone call from my mam.
“She said ‘have you got the Hartlepool Mail, you better get it, somebody’s looking for you’. I didn’t have a clue who was looking for me.
“I got home and phoned him straight away.”
Carl, a self-employed children’s entertainer who has a partner called Hayley Lancaster, 27, and is dad to Amelia, five, and one-year-old Lukas, said: “Within five and a half hours of the story being in the paper, I had a phone call. I had just came out of the lift in Hartlepool shopping centre.
“I was in tears of joy.”
Michael’s first words were “hello son”.
Although Carl was a bit wary it may have been a prank call at first, when he got home, the pair chatted on the phone about “family, the past, the future” and the memories came flooding back.
Now he and Michael, who has three other step-children, Jodi, Sarah and Tony Ridley, and is grandfather to Stuart Keers and Grace Ridley, are planning to meet each other’s family.
“It just shows you, the power of the press,” said Carl.
Michael had lived with Carl’s mum Margaret Bruce in Kinbrace Road when Carl was growing up and brought him up from the ages of three to 10. But Carl went into foster care and lost contact with Michael.
Carl said his biological father Chris Robertson has been very supportive, and Chris had been good friends with Michael.