Brother and sister, then and now
Brother and sister, then and now

Online date turns into brotherly love

Time of article published May 9, 2011

Share this article:

When Sarah Kemp signed up to a website looking for love her dream was to find someone with whom she had a lot in common.

So she was delighted when she found George Bentley. The pair swapped e-mails and photographs for three months and hit it off so well that they arranged a date in London.

Only then did they discover quite how much in common they really had.

For during a chat about their childhood they realised they were long-lost brother and sister, separated by a family breakdown 36 years ago.

Kemp, 42, said: “Can you imagine the surprise, joy and embarrassment we both felt? It was such a crazy thing. To meet your long-lost brother in a bar after over 30 years would be something by itself. But to meet him in those circumstances on a date, for crying out loud, really is something else.”

Kemp and Bentley were born in Ashford, Kent, where they spent an idyllic childhood with parents Felicity and David Bentley. But their parents divorced in 1975 and Sarah, who was six, joined her mother in Edinburgh, while 11-year-old David went with his father to live in London.

Neither parent remarried but the two families never spoke again and the two children lost touch with each other.

As adults, the siblings tried to make contact, but they had so little information that they were unable to trace each other’s whereabouts. The search was made more difficult as Kemp had married in 1989 and, even though she divorced a decade later, she had kept her husband’s surname of Kemp.

Bentley, 47, a builder, said: “I had absolutely no idea where she was. I was also searching for Sarah Bentleys, rather than Sarah Kemps, as I obviously didn’t know she had married. After a while, I think both Sarah and I gave up looking.”

But against the odds, the siblings were reunited after they both joined the website Forget Dinner last November.

Their first “date” was to meet for lunch at Bentley’s local pub in East Ham, London. Kemp, a cleaner who still lives in Edinburgh, said: “I would never have agreed to go to London on a blind date, but we hit it off from the beginning and our relationship blossomed as we e-mailed each other more and more often.

“I love London anyway, so when he suggested we meet up I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore and have a mini-break in the city - as well as meet George. We had so much in common and we really enjoyed each other’s company.

“It was as if we’d known each other all our lives.”

The penny dropped about their true relationship as they talked about their childhoods during lunch. Despite their embarrassment over the unlikely situation, they celebrated the reunion with a bottle of champagne and spent the rest of the evening catching up.

Since the date, the siblings have met twice more in Edinburgh and plan to visit each other regularly.

Bentley said: “This was the meeting of a lifetime and we are now planning to see each other as often as possible.”

Bookmakers say the odds of the reunion were 500 million to one - 30 times less likely than winning the lottery. - Daily Mail

Share this article: