With Episode 4 of ITV’s award winning Long Lost Family airing last Tuesday evening (7th August), we have reached the halfway point of Series 8 of LLf. We’ve seen some ground breaking reunions, including the youngest searcher in the show’s history and the first transgender search. The latest episode of the show reunited former England Rugby star Spencer Brown with the mother and sister he was separated from at birth. You can watch a clip of the emotional scenes below:
If you missed the first four episodes of the series, or if you just want to relive the emotional scenes, then you can catch up on the ITV Hub (click link).
Still to come this series we meet Bronwen, now based in Canada, who gave up her son in 1960s West London, herself just 18 and unable to care for a baby. Her description of the 6 weeks she spent agonisingly trying to care for Mark makes for chilling viewing:
“I knew he needed somebody who was grown-up enough to be a mother. However much I loved him, I wasn’t.”
Where is Mark now? Can the two be reunited after all this time? Bronwen had always hoped to see her son again – will she finally get her chance? Tune into ITV1 at 9pm tomorrow night (14th August) to find out.
Ariel Bruce and team provide all of the search work and intermediary services for Long Lost Family.
With Episode 1 of ITV’s award winning Long Last Family breaking boundaries last week with their youngest ever searchers, episode two is set to push the envelope even more. With the first transgender search in the show’s history about to air on Tuesday night at 9pm, emotions around the country are set to run even higher.
Francesca Barnes was born Paul and adopted at 6 months old. After beginning her transition two years ago, Francesca began to wonder about her own birth mother. Like most people Francesca had little idea where to start, so contacted the Long Lost Family team for some expert advice.
Step in Ariel Bruce and Charlotte Bruce Lloyd, who were able to track down Norma, now 64 and living in Southampton. Through careful intermediary work mother and daughter were reunited. Francesca was afraid of not being accepted due to her transition, adding another dimension to the show’s usual emotional roller coaster. However, when Norma says that she is happy to have “gained a daughter” there isn’t a dry eye in the country, let alone the house!
Episode 2 of Long Lost Family will air on Tuesday 24th July at 9pm on ITV1. You can catch up on last week’s episode on the ITV Hub (click here).
Long Lost Family, the award winning ITV1 show, will return to your screens on Tuesday 17th July at the prime time slot of 9pm. Presenters Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell return to help reunite families with missing relatives across the globe.
Series 8 will bring long standing viewers more of the emotional scenes that have become synonymous with the show, as well as some new elements such as the youngest ever search completed, and the first transgender story.
Episode 1, which airs tomorrow night (Tuesday 17th July) sees Pearse reunited with his long lost father Eddie in New York (via the magic of Facebook) and Christina discovering her family routes in Colombia. An international episode and a real tear jerker!
As as with Long Lost Family series 1 – 7, Ariel and her social work team undertook all of the search and intermediary work for series 8, tracing family members across the world and using complex detective work to unearth otherwise hidden family connections. Without this ‘behind the scenes’ work, the emotional on screen reunions would not be possible.
For more information on Long Lost Family series 8 you can head to ITV.com
As a trustee for the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal (OPSA), Ariel Bruce has been hard at work increasing the profile of the charity alongside members of the medical team and Ambassadors such as Kate Adie CBE. With the October Cleft Camp not far off, exciting things are happening within the charity:
Emirates Airline On Board!
All at OPSA are delighted to be partnering with Emirates Airlines who will be flying the medical team out to Pakistan free of charge. We are very grateful to Emirates for their generosity, ensuring that as many medical volunteers can be flown out for each camp as possible. This way the charity can have maximum effect in the area and transform the lives of as many people as possible.
2018 October Cleft Camp
Ariel hopes to join the medical team in Pakistan for the October Cleft Camp. It will have been a year since her last visit, so she is excited to get out there and get stuck in. As well as continuing to carry out life changing operations on babies and young children born with facial deformities, the OPSA team is developing the work it does with breast cancer sufferers in the area.
Cleft Camp Documentary Film
With the help of award winning film maker Daisy Asquith, Ariel has started planning the filming of one of the upcoming Cleft Camps for a documentary film. Asquith, who has worked with Ariel in the past, is a lecturer at Goldsmith University, and is helping to pick out a young and talented film maker to join the medical team in Pakistan. More information to follow soon.
OPSA Ambassador & friend of Ariel’s, Kate Adie CBE, was this week awarded the BAFTA Fellowship, the highest honour that can be bestowed on someone for their work in Film and Television.
Kate Adie has been a BBC journalist and correspondent for 40 years, best known for her fearless work reporting from war zones and covering the Iranian Embassy siege. Ariel was delighted to accompany Kate to the ceremony and watch her pick up the award.
Chair of Bafta Jane Lush said of Kate:
“A truly ground-breaking news journalist, being one of a very small number of women working to report the news from hostile environments around the world. Throughout her career, she has brought audiences to the centre of the story by fearlessly reporting from the ground, whilst clearly and concisely explaining the complex issues to audiences at home. We are delighted to be celebrating her stellar career at this year’s ceremony; she is a true trailblazer and very deserving of the Fellowship Award.”
Kate & Ariel work together as an Ambassador & Trustee respectively for OPSA, the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal. OPSA run medical camps for children and young people born with facial abnormalities in Pakistan. You can learn more about OPSA’s vital work by clicking on this link – OPSA Charity.
Former features editor of the Telegraph, Daily Mail and Independent, Genevieve Fox has released “a cancer memoir with a difference” (The Guardian), including a mention of Ariel Bruce. ‘Milkshakes & Morphine: A Memoir of Love & Loss’ was published in late January by Square Peg, Penguin Random House.
The book details the life of Fox and her young family as they come to terms with her cancer, but also the legacy it has had on her life – orphaning her at the age of six as her mother succumbed to the disease.
Not only does the book cover the cancer battle, but also the pains of growing up as an orphan. Fox’s brother came to Ariel to help track down their step father, which she duly did only to find he had died a few short months before.
You can pick up a copy of the book here – www.penguin.com
In April 2016 Mr Justice Peter Jackson ruled that that Mr David Spencer was able to test the DNA of the man he thought to be his late birth father, in order to ascertain the threat of a possible hereditary cancer gene. The ruling was upheld by Lady Justice King yesterday (7th Feb) in a landmark case that could encourage more DNA testing in cases of possible hereditary health risk.
“Knowledge of our biological identity is a central component of our existence,” the judge said… “The establishment of the truth is a goal in itself”.
Mr Justice Jackson ruled that “knowledge of our biological identity is a central component of our existence” when allowing the DNA tests to go ahead in 2016, going as far to say that the tests would “serve the public interest”.
Full article from The Times of London
Lady Justice King highlighted the “interests of the living in knowing their biological identity”… it was “inevitable and right” that Mr Spencer’s wishes should be granted.
In upholding the ruling at yesterday’s Court of Appeal, Lady Justice King highlighted the “interests of the living in knowing their biological identity” and said that it was “inevitable and right” that Mr Spencer’s wishes should be granted.
Read the full article here – The Times.
Ariel has been a supporter of the Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal for some time, visiting Pakistan with the team last October, witnessing first hand the vital work they carry out.
On a recent trip to OPSA’s HQ in Hull for a trustees meeting Ariel was made a trustee of OPSA.
‘Not all heroes wear capes” – The OPSA team
Ariel will focus on recruiting Ambassadors to join the OPSA team to help to promote the work being undertaken. Alongside Journalist Kate Adie and actors Stephanie Cole and Debra Stephenson, Ariel will invite more Ambassadors from the sporting and entertainment world.
To read more about the good work that OPSA carries out please visit their website – www.opsacharity.com
OPSA – “Giving children a face they can live with.”
In October of 2017, Ariel was able to visit Pakistan with the charity OPSA (Overseas Plastic Surgery Appeal) to observe the vital work they are doing operating on young children with facial abnormalities. Children like Arfat, above, who had life changing surgery as a baby thanks to OPSA.
Ariel Bruce and her colleagues are supporting the charity. Ariel gained valuable insight ‘on the ground’ in Pakistan where the work is being carried out. Using second hand and recommissioned surgical equipment, the medical team from OPSA train local doctors to carry out often life saving operations that are common place in the UK.
OPSA is a UK registered charity based in Hull, Yorkshire, and the OPSA team travel to Pakistan from the North East of England, joined by other doctors from Northern Ireland and Turkey, twice a year to carry out these much needed operations and train local doctors.
Children come from hundreds of miles away to receive truly life changing surgery which they would certainly not have access to without the existence and support of OPSA. Without such corrective surgery these children would never learn to talk or feed properly, which can lead to being ostracised by their families and by society as a whole.
Ariel and her team have been spreading the word about the good work that OPSA carries out. OPSA is supported by journalist Katie Adie and actors Stephanie Cole and Debra Stephenson, who are OPSA ambassadors.
There is much work to be done; OPSA’s aim is to raise a further £20,000, which will enable it to open another operating theatre in Pakistan, thereby helping many more children in the area.
For more information about OPSA and the great work that they do please click here – OPSA Charity Website.
Series 7 of Long Lost Family concluded back in September of last year with an emotional episode in keeping with the rest of the series. We rounded off another great series by reuniting Derek with his long lost little brother and by helping Ann, who was adopted at birth, to answer many of the questions she had carried around since childhood.
Derek and his half brother Julian’s meeting, after more than 70 years apart, was all the sweeter now that Julian is living in Philadelphia, USA. Julian made the three and a half thousand mile journey to meet his big brother in an East London pub close to where their mother lived during the war. They are very much a part of each other’s lives now, feeling a great sense of fulfilment and closeness after being reunited on the show.
Ann had always felt different from her adoptive family, often landing her in trouble at school. She knew she was adopted and 20 years ago set out to find her birth parents. With just a name, Ariel and the LLF team were able to track down Denise, Ann’s birth mother, as well as a half sister called Delina. Sadly, Denise had passed away three years ago, but reuniting Ann with her 4 half sisters helped to answer some of the questions she had grown up with.
Even before series 7 had wrapped, Ariel and her team were hard at work on the stories that will make up series 8. With many more long lost family members to reunite, the work never stops. There is no official release date for series eight yet, but you can be rest assured that it will be the same emotional rollercoaster you’ve come to know and love. Watch this space!