A grandfather got the birthday surprise of a lifetime as he was reunited with family he had not seen for more than 50 years.

Brian Cook, now 75, of Bannister Green, Felsted, thought he was going for a normal family barbecue at his son Peter’s house in Clare Road, Braintree.

Little did he know that his sister Sybil McCoy, who moved to Oklahoma in 1956, would be flying over from the states along with his niece Jennie and his great nephew Cody, 32, who he had never met before.

Mr Cook said: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would come 3,500 miles to see me. I was absolutely gobsmacked."

For the full story, see this week's Braintree and Witham Times.