Axminster woman searches for nephew

AN AXMINSTER woman is searching for her nephew – 16 years after the boy’s father died of AIDS.

AN AXMINSTER woman is searching for her nephew – 16 years after the boy’s father died of AIDS.

Jackie Swarbrick-Silver said she never met her late brother Chris’ son, who she believes would now be 26.

Chris, who was gay, had a relationship with a woman when he was about 20, and learned she was pregnant after they split up.

With homosexuality a stigma in the 80s, Chris agreed not to be named on the birth certificate or to have any contact with the child.

Jackie said: “Chris was wonderful with children and wanted a family and thought he might be able to change himself. He suppressing the fact that he was gay and tried to be ‘straight’.

“I know it hurt him dreadfully not to stay in touch but he thought it was the right thing to do.”

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Chris only told Jackie about his son a year before his death, aged 30 – when the boy would have been nine.

She lost both her parents to cancer and wants to find her remaining family connection.

She said: “Chris wouldn’t tell me anything about his son as he thought I would go looking for him. But from my angle, there’s a little bit of my brother out there that I don’t know. I’d like to at least know he’s well.”

Chris and the girlfriend dated around 1983 and Jackie believes she was from the Taunton or Axminster area.

She believes her nephew was born a year after her daughter Delia, who was born in May 1983.

Jackie, 49, was heartbroken when she learned Chris had HIV – and he told three years after his diagnosis.

She said: “It was horrendous and I was devastated. My brother and I were incredibly close.

“But he felt like he had lived a lot – he’d been to Australia, successfully trained as a hairdresser, travelled to Israel – he packed an awful lot in.

“He asked me if I’d ever driven without a seatbelt and I said ‘yes’. He said ‘well, I’ve had unprotected sex twice in my life, and one was a bad role of the die.”

The former president of Axminster Lions Club said it had been hard for her father, David, who had been the charter member of the club and founder of the Axe Vale Festival.

She said: “But he coped admirably when he learned Chris had HIV – it was his son after all.”

She recently married but did not change the family name in the hope somebody with information on her nephew would come forward.

She said: “I thought Chris’ son might want to know about us. When my brother didn’t tell me I was angry as I felt it was taking away another chance for me to know another part of him.”

Anyone with information can email Jackie at