36-year-old Roy Aspinall, an army veteran, was recently attending a local church service in Wigan, England. The father of six was commemorating Remembrance Sunday, a UK holiday that serves to honor those who have served in the military. As he spent time reminiscing about his own experiences, he never expected his day to turn out the way it did.
Following the service, Aspinall was wandering outside when he noticed a man sitting in the churchyard. Aspinall wasn’t quite sure what it was about this man that made him decide to approach him and strike up a conversation, but said that there was just “something in his features.”
“The recognition of his face was there,” Aspinall explained to Metro.
“I thought I had to see who he was.”
Aspinall started up a conversation with the man and felt a connection with him. He wasn’t sure why, but something compelled Aspinall to start inquiring about his family.
The answers he received shocked him.
“I rang my sister and said I’ve got this man here and he seems to have all the answers,” Aspinall explained to the BBC.
“I was in tears when we worked it out.”
When Aspinall was a child, he actually had a brother whose name was Billy White. Both were sons of Lorraine White, and their childhoods were rocked by stressful family divisions and hardship.
As a result, Aspinall did not grow up with Billy, and instead was raised by their aunt. In the time since they had been separated, the two boys hadn’t kept in contact, as Billy was only an infant when Aspinall left.
They had never met, until that very moment.
Standing before Aspinall was his brother Billy, all these years later. After Aspinall began asking questions about Billy’s past, they quickly figured things out.
“I just came to the church yard to sit down … This guy came over to me and was asking me lots of questions, about my mum and my sister. He said I’m your brother,” Billy said. “I didn’t believe him at first. You can’t explain that feeling inside. It’s mad. I’m still in shock.”
“My mum had always spoken about [Roy].”
#BBCNewsSix tonight on @BBCNWT with our Veteran Roy Aspinall and his long lost brother Billy Wright. Great story, great guys. @EDs_Homes @WiganObserver1 @WiganCouncil @WiganWarriorsRL @HWWiganLeigh @WiganVeterans @lisanandy @ProjectNova_UK @LpoolVeterans @VeteransUK pic.twitter.com/x3bMT88oas
— EDs Place (@EDSVeterans) November 30, 2017
As their conversation went on, Aspinall discovered that Billy was homeless, with the problems he’d developed as a child following him into adulthood. Aspinall offered to take him home, which Billy happily agreed to.
Since then, the two boys have been growing closer and catching up on all the years of bonding they lost. Aspinall is truly thankful for that chance encounter on Remembrance Day, where he worked up the courage to approach a stranger and start asking him about his family.
“To say ‘I’ve got a brother,’ to use those words, is so foreign,” Aspinall went on to say.