Sandra McBride found her son Damien Turpin after 35 years

Imagine  if your child had disappeared? How would you feel if you had lost contact? This was how a local Bulahdelah resident, Sandra McBride had felt for decades.

Sandra McBride and Damien Turpin
Sandra McBride and Damien Turpin

Emotions ran high for Sandra this week when she was reunited with her long-lost son Damien, after a long search spanning over three decades had come to an end.

Diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2014, it was Sandra’s final wish to be reunited with her son.

Having not seen Damien since he was six years old, she decided to make a last-ditch attempt to locate him.

Enlisting the help of a friend, missing person posters were distributed in Noosa, his last known whereabouts.

Sandra had all but given up hope of ever seeing her son again, now 41 years old, when a Noosa local recognised Damien from the posters.

McBride made initial contact and it was revealed that he had lived in many locations throughout the world, including France and China, where he is currently working in Shanghai.

It was decided that he would make his way to Australia to reunite with his family, including his four brothers and sisters who he had never met.

As the reunion drew near, both were equally nervous.

Sandra recalls, “There was turmoil. I was scared about reuniting with him.”

Damien’s first thoughts were also filled with worry.

However, these feelings disappeared quickly when the pair reunited in Bulahdelah this week.  Emotions were high as the search finally came to a conclusion.

Joking about Damien’s life, Sandra said, “He’s an Australian with a French accent working in China.”

The McBride family recently celebrated the reunion with a family barbecue before Damien returned to Shanghai.

“I was disappointed that the reunion didn’t occur earlier, but now I have closure,” Sandra said.

Damien plans to return to visit his family in Bulahdelah again in the near future.

(By Daniel Sahyoun)

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