Reunited O’Donnell brothers sadly separated by coronavirus

Two brothers, united for the first time as elderly gentlemen, have been separated once more with the sad passing of Jimmy O’Donnell after he contracted coronavirus, reports.

Jimmy and Fred O’Donnell spent nearly their whole lives believing they were an only child.  Both had had difficult childhoods growing up in Ireland and neither of them knew their mother.  Jimmy grew up in an orphanage and would later move to Cheltenham while Fred was sent to Artane Industrial School after being arrested for begging on the streets, he would later move to Bradford.

It was only when Fred’s daughter, Theresa Wardley, researched into their family tree did they realise that Fred had an older brother, Jimmy.  To track Jimmy down, Theresa put out an appeal in The Herald newspaper in 2015 and Finders International responded.

“I have a family at last.”

After Finders International located Jimmy, the brothers were able to meet for the very first time. Jimmy at the age of 80 and Fred at 78. The article reports that this was the beginning of regular family reunions with Fred and his family where they would make the four-and-a-half hour journey to Cheltenham – the visits continued for the rest of Jimmy’s life.

Fred told the Sunday Independent that they loved their weekends together and described Jimmy as “a very quiet man” who was quite religious, a tenor in a choir and a man with a giving nature; Jimmy had raised thousands of pounds for charity and helped at homeless shelters on Christmas Day.

Although the global pandemic kept the brothers a part in the final stages, it comes as a comfort to those who knew and loved Jimmy that after 80 years he was unified with a family he never knew existed.

Danny Curran, MD of Finders International, said “It was an absolute pleasure being able to reunite the O’Donnell brothers and I send my condolences to Jimmy’s family and friends – I will never forget the wonderful O’Donnell family.”