BERNADETTE CYNTHIA HEALY
I look and notice he is correct. I curse myself silently for not noticing the similarity myself. 'Would it be alright if I wrote down the names on this page? I would just like to cross reference the details that I have.'
'Please, be my guest. There's nothing here that wouldn't be available to the public.'
'It's strange though, that in the newspaper clipping I have, there is no mention of a second marriage taking place within the ceremony. I'd have thought a journalist would have jumped at something as unconventional as that, especially back in the 60s.'
Father Thomas furrows his brow, 'true, unless the reason why the second marriage was within the main ceremony was to keep it quiet so it wouldn't have had an article of its own?' He smiles, 'there you've piqued my curiosity and let my imagination run wild. If only Father Donald were still alive to tell you all about the wedding. He was quite the one for telling a good tale.'
I smile back at him, 'it seems you have the same gift, I did enjoy your sermon today. Can you please explain something to me? I'm not the greatest frequenter of church, and I can't remember whether you're a priest or a reverend, and then just now you mentioned being a pastor. Which one is it?'
'Of course. I'm definitely a priest, I have been ordained as a minister for the Church of England. Reverend is more similar to 'Father', but I prefer the more traditional name, despite my youth. It's normally considered a little more Catholic to answer to Father, but that's my preference. I am a pastor, a shepherd, if you will. Though I suppose that's more of a job description than an actual title,' his eyes are warm and I can tell he is enjoying giving me the explanation.
He waits, expecting me to ask another question, but I have had my information fill for the day. I have written down the names of all those who were married on the 20th May 1961, as well as the witnesses and the times. I thank Father Thomas and I promise to make another visit at some point in the future to let him know how my investigation goes.
He shows me to the door of the church, which is when I realise that the weather has changed. I say my goodbyes as I watch the clouds hide the sun's rays, threatening to release a deluge of rain, and I allow myself the luxury of catching a taxi rather than risking the rain.
At home I turn on my computer and let my fingers rest on the keyboard before I type in any of the new names I've found today. It's the middle of the afternoon and I'm surprised with my own stamina, normally I'd have had a nap or sat in the garden reading a book, though the weather is still looking a little precarious. But I'm lost in my thoughts about this investigation, which is a welcome change, but I don't want to over exert my energies because that is the surest way to miss something vital.
Instead of using the internet to search for new information I open up a word document and decide to type up all the information that I have so far. I reason I can use it for my own investigation as well as handing it to the Summerbees Solicitors and giving it to Keith first thing tomorrow morning. No doubt the simple format of the listed documents and details I have will show the lawyers that I mean business.
So what do I know?
• Bernadette Cynthia Healy was born on the 28th September 1932 and she left for an unknown address as an evacuee to Scotland sometime in 1939.
• She is then told that her parents did not survive the war.
I wonder what proof she was given, whether or not there was a Last Will and Testament given to her because she makes it clear that an account was left in her name for her to touch once she turned twenty-five.
It puzzles me to think she stayed in Scotland all this time, but she mentions her surrogate family most fondly, so I suppose the thirteen year old Bernadette was adopted, if not in name.
• She arrives in London when she is twenty-five only to find that the account she has the details for has been wiped clean by a brother she didn't know she had.
Queue my husband and his love of lost causes.