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Man abandoned in a cinema toilet as a baby 61 years ago is about to meet his family

By Neil_Shaw | Posted: July 05, 2017

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Man abandoned in a cinema toilet as a baby 61 years ago is about to meet his family

Man abandoned in a cinema toilet as a baby 61 years ago is about to meet his family

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A Devon man abandoned in a cinema when he was a baby 61 years ago is to meet the family who never knew he existed.

Rob Weston was abandoned in a cinema in Birmingham 61 years ago and grew up not knowing anything about his relatives. Later this month Rob, who lives in Plymouth, will get to put faces to names for the first time during a stay in Turriff, Aberdeenshire.

The lecturer has already met his half-brothers Tommy Chalmers, who lives in Burghead, Moray, and Frankie Chalmers, from Turriff, as well as half-sister Pat McBain from Banff, Aberdeenshire.

And now an invitation has been extended to the whole family to meet for the first time and trade stories with him and his wife, Marie. Tommy revealed anticipation was building ahead of the meeting in an online group called "Clan Chalmers".

And Tommy is looking forward to rekindling bonds with his newly discovered relative after he made a brief "fact-finding" visit earlier this year. He said: "We are all looking forward to it. It will be nice for the whole family to get to meet him.

"Rob's been speaking to a lot of people on a group chat we've got set up but he's got no idea who they actually are really or anything like that. It will be good for him to be able to put faces to names on a piece of paper for the first time.

"At one point we thought there might have been another sister too but that turned out not to be the case. We're certain there was another brother though. It will be nice for the whole family to get to meet him"

Rob was left in an Odeon toilet in 1956 after his mother decided she could no longer afford to care for him. The lecturer was adopted as a baby and began searching for his blood family in the 1970s without success.

A match in a national DNA database then set in motion a chain of events which led him to the relatives he never knew he had in the north-east of Scotland. Tommy's father, Charlie, moved to England in the 1950s, where he had at least one child with Mr Weston's mother, before he moved back to Aberdeenshire.

Recent attempts to track down the identity of the lecturer's mum have provided renewed hope that the final piece of the family tree may be about to slot into place.

Describing the moment he met brother half-brother Tommy Chalmers, 59 and half-sister Pat McBain, 54, at Inverness Airport, he told MailOnline: 'It was a culmination of feelings from over half a century really. Elation, shock, joy, wonderment."

"It's such an intense time. Beautiful too. I'm so lucky they are as lovely as they are. It was worth every minute of searching."

A baby, Robert was found dressed in expensive Cherubim clothing, with his head resting on a cushion, in a cinema toilet

Days after he was found, a local newspaper carried eye-witness reports of a well-dressed, attractive woman loitering suspiciously near the cinema foyer, but she was never traced.

Mr Chalmers, who lives in Moray, told The Sun he was not surprised to find out that he had a long lost brother.

'Dad was a colourful character. I wasn't shocked to find I had a long-lost brother.

'Hearsay reckoned that Dad had another family.'

Mr Weston's father, Charlie Chalmers, from Turriff, Aberdeenshire, died aged 74 in 1997.

Shortly after he passed away, Tommy and Pat found a note among his personal papers which said: 'She couldn't afford to look after her two children'.

The siblings believe that this suggests Mr Weston may have another brother or sister.

The reunited family are now trying to help their brother track down more clues that could lead to finding his mother.


Back in 1956, Robert was handed over to Dr Bruce Park at Birmingham Children's Hospital by police, who named him Robert Bruce.

He lived at a children's home in Droitwich, Worcs, until he was seven when he was adopted by George and Irene Weston, who ran pubs in Worcestershire.

He joined the Royal Navy as a 16-year-old before leaving in 1978 and moving to Plymouth where he taught English at the city's university until he retired last year.

He had five children with Angela, his first wife. The children were Richard, now 33, Emma, 32, Sonny, 28, 22-year-old Samantha, and Jamie, 19.

He divorced Angela after 18 years together and then married Marie and went on to have a daughter Emily, now 17.

Robert's adoptive mother Irene died when he was 20 and George passed away from Alzheimer's last June, and Robert has now decided to seek out his biological mother.

Back in 2015, Robert told The Herald he had discovered documents, which could have helped solve the mystery, were destroyed 20 years ago.

But he believes he has uncovered a possible description of his mother after a young woman with auburn hair and a red coat was seen at the cinema clutching a baby before he was abandoned.

He has approached a DNA data bank in London who have detected possible links with America and Ireland.

Robert's daughter Emma Broome, 32, has also created a Facebook page dedicated to the search.

Robert said: "You can make up all sorts of conspiracy theories and I have been through them all over the years.

"The detail of the expensive clothes I was wrapped in makes it more intriguing too.

"I've considered the possibility it might not have been my mum who actually put me there, but then the woman that was described was 28 and had red hair, and my daughter Samantha has red hair. "I could have been born out of wedlock, or to a very young mum.

"I could have been an illegitimate baby in a posh family, and in those days that would have been very embarrassing so they may have given me up because of that.

"I bear my mother no ill-will whatsoever. Years ago, my first question to her would have been, 'why?' but now it would be, 'how are you?'"

"I was three weeks of age. Abandoned babies are not kept for that long – that does not fit the norm.

"She took a real risk by leaving me there. She tucked me up in the warm. All this points to someone who cares. I think she had to have reasons.

"It's easy to go down the conspiracy theory route, but the impression I get from press reports at the time is of someone from a very good family.

"When I was adopted I was torn.

"I found it difficult to connect emotionally and my adoptive mum wanted to cover me with love and I could not cope with that. I blamed her for the confusion I was feeling.

"Some of my experiences at the children's home were not very pleasant and I used to think they would not have happened if I'd not been left at the cinema.

"Returning to the place I was left gave me a sense of shock, seeing the corner where my head had rested, knowing I was standing where my mother stood. It was a very profound feeling.

"The clothes I was wearing have also gone and I don't think that would happen today.

"It seems to have gone worldwide, which is amazing. So many people have sent messages of support.

"Really, I'm doing this to pass on some connection to my family that goes beyond myself. At the moment I have no genetic links with anyone. That is why it's so important."

Daughter Emma, a beauty therapist from Plympton, said: "I would like to meet my biological grandmother as well if she was found.

"We're all very artistic and that's not from my mum's side, so we could make more sense of that if we met our grandmother.

"The Facebook profile we set up a couple of weeks ago already has more than 450 followers and has been shared about 6,000 times.

"I've been really surprised by the amount of support it received."

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