The Big Top brings Burnley family face to face with long lost relatives for very first time

Peter and Taras meet for the first time.
Peter and Taras meet for the first time.
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A travelling circus brought a Burnley grandfather the long lost family he had almost given up hope of ever finding.

Peter Kieluch always knew that he had relatives in the Ukraine as his father, Simon, came to England to work in the mines when he was only 15, over 70 years ago.

Meeting Taras for the first time are (from left to right) Phoebe, Sadie, Simone, Albie, Paul and Peter

Meeting Taras for the first time are (from left to right) Phoebe, Sadie, Simone, Albie, Paul and Peter

Simon never saw any of his relatives again but he kept in touch with them by sending regular letters home and photographs of his wife and family, including his son Peter.

Now 67, Peter's children, Paul and Simone, had tried unsuccessfully to track down any relatives.

But what they didn't realise that the Kieluch side of the family in the Ukraine spelt their surname in a different way so finding each other had proved to be almost impossible.

That was until Taras Kelyukh, whose grandfather was Simon's brother, set about searching himself.

Paul and Lindsay with their twins Phoebe and Albie meet Taras.

Paul and Lindsay with their twins Phoebe and Albie meet Taras.

Taras is a clown with the circus and when he discovered he would be coming to perform in Burnley his relatives urged him to try and find Simon's family.

After looking at the precious letters Simon sent home and noticing the different spelling of the surname, Taras found Paul's wife Lindsay on facebook and sent a photograph of Peter with Paul and his sister Simone as children.

And when Lindsay (40) who works as a dental nurse at St Peter's Centre in Burnley, saw the picture she knew immediately who it was.

Lindsay said: "I recognised the young Paul as soon as a I saw the photograph, it was amazing to see it.

"It was then that we saw how Taras had spelt the surname differently so that was the reason why we had never been able to find them."

Paul (37) who works for Woodhead Brothers in Colne along with Lindsay and their eight-year-old twins Albie and Phoebe, were able to meet Taras after watching him perform in the Big Top.

And they were joined for the moving occasion by Peter and also Paul's sister Simone and two of her children, Sadie (14) and three-year-old Drew. Simone also has an older son Lewis who is 18.

Lindsay said: "It was emotional and moving for us all especially Peter.

"We were able to meet Taras and his wife and the children absolutely loved meeting them.

"We don't speak Ukraine and they cannot speak any English but we have managed to communicate through a google online translator and they have been in touch with us everyday."

The family were stunned to learn that relatives of Simon's still live in the same house in a small Ukrainian village where he grew up.

Lindsay added: "This has just been unbelievable how this has all happened but we are so happy to have found them."