Man finally finds his daughter after 58 years on Long Lost Family

‘My life is complete’: Long Lost Family’s oldest searcher, 87, finally finds his daughter 58 years after she and her mother ‘disappeared into thin air’ while he was at sea

  • Roy David, 87, based in England, has spent decades hoping to find his daughter
  • Father-of-two last saw daughter Cheryl as a six-year-old in the Bronx, New York
  • Born in Guyana, South America, Roy spent his life in the merchant navy 
  • Would visit his daughter, until, one day, his family had ‘disappeared into thin air’
  • An 87-year-old man has finally been reunited with his daughter after 58 years apart on tonight’s Long Lost Family.

    Roy David – the ITV programme’s oldest searcher – has spent decades hoping to find his daughter Cheryl, who he’d last seen as a six-year-old in the Bronx, New York.

    Born in Guyana, South America, Roy spent his life in the merchant navy. In the 1950s, aged 19, he arrived in New York and met student nurse Sylvia, Cheryl’s mother.

    After Sylvia became pregnant, Roy married her and moved in with her mother. However he was soon kicked out of the home due to rising tensions following his long spells at sea.

    For five years he would visit his daughter, until, one day, his family had ‘disappeared into thin air’, with Roy eventually settling in England and marrying Itha, who he’s been with for over 40 years.

    Astonishingly, Cherly was discovered in Queens, not far from the Bronx, and in heartwarming scenes, airing at 9pm, the father and daughter are reunited in London.

    Scroll down for video 

    Roy David - the ITV programme's oldest searcher - has spent decades hoping to find his daughter Cheryl, who he had last seen as a six-year-old in the Bronx, New York. Pictured, Roy and Cheryl reunited

    Roy David – the ITV programme’s oldest searcher – has spent decades hoping to find his daughter Cheryl, who he had last seen as a six-year-old in the Bronx, New York. Pictured, Roy and Cheryl reunited

    Born in Guyana, South America, Roy spent his life in the merchant navy. In the 1950s, aged 19, he arrived in New York and met student nurse Sylvia, Cheryl¿s mother. Pictured, Roy and Cheryl during their first in-person reunion

    Born in Guyana, South America, Roy spent his life in the merchant navy. In the 1950s, aged 19, he arrived in New York and met student nurse Sylvia, Cheryl’s mother. Pictured, Roy and Cheryl during their first in-person reunion

    Speaking on the show, Roy, who has a son from a previous relationship and three stepchildren, remembers the joy of becoming a father for the first time.

    He says: ‘She was a lovely child – one of my great experiences of her, my first child, is changing nappies for the first time and taking her out in her pram. I felt very good as a father.’

    But there were tensions within the family. Roy felt he didn’t live up to his mother-in-law’s expectations and he was often away at sea. 

    Eventually, Sylvia and her mother asked Roy to leave. He remembers: ‘I didn’t want to leave but they told me go.’

    Over the next five years, whenever Roy returned from sea, he went to visit his daughter – until, one day, she was no longer there. 








    After Sylvia became pregnant, Roy wed her and moved in with her mother. However he was soon kicked out of the home due to rising tensions following his long spells at sea. Pictured, Cheryl as a child

    Cheryl pictured as a young woman

    After Sylvia became pregnant, Roy wed her and moved in with her mother. However he was soon kicked out of the home due to rising tensions following his long spells at sea. Pictured, Cheryl as a child, left, and as a young woman, right

    For five years he would visit his daughter, until, one day, his family had 'disappeared into thin air', with Roy (pictuerd) eventually settling in England and marrying Itha, who he¿s been with for over 40 years

    For five years he would visit his daughter, until, one day, his family had ‘disappeared into thin air’, with Roy (pictuerd) eventually settling in England and marrying Itha, who he’s been with for over 40 years

    Roy recalls: ‘I found out they had moved. [It] was like she just disappeared in thin air. They made sure they left no trail to which I could follow.’

    He admits he has always regretted not trying harder to be part of his daughter’s life, adding: ‘I was a young man who had a lot of pride, I gave up too easily. I should have decided to fight for my rights as a father… and I didn’t.’ 

    Roy settled in England and married Itha, but has never stopped thinking about his daughter.

    He says: ‘I really and truly would like to say to her how sorry I am I was not there for her, and I should have been. It’s eating away at me every day, every day. I don’t think I could go to my resting place with that on my conscious.

    ‘I’m of an age now where I don’t think I may have long. I would really like to see my daughter,’ he adds.

    The Long Lost Family team found Roy’s daughter, Cheryl David, still living in New York. 

    Astonishingly, Cherly (pictured meeting her half-brother Gerald) was discovered in Queens, not far from the Bronx, and in heartwarming scenes, airing at 9pm, the father and daughter are reunited in London

    Astonishingly, Cherly (pictured meeting her half-brother Gerald) was discovered in Queens, not far from the Bronx, and in heartwarming scenes, airing at 9pm, the father and daughter are reunited in London

    Cheryl, who is married and has children and grandchildren, was shocked to discover her father was looking for her. 

    She says her father was never spoken about when she was growing up so she blocked him out, not believing she would ever get the chance to meet him. 

    When co-presenter Nicky Campbell explains via video call how much Roy has wanted to find her, she says: ‘That’s a wonderful feeling to know you were loved, to know I am loved.’

    Cheryl is also thrilled to hear she has a brother, especially when she discovers he lives just around the corner from her in New York.

    After decades of searching, Roy is left stunned when told his daughter has been found the US. 

    He reads the heart-felt letter Cheryl has written to him which says: ‘Tonight for the first time in a long time, I will allow myself the joy and happiness of knowing I have been loved all the years… the hope and dream of having a dad.’

    Speaking on the show, Roy, who has a son from a previous relationship and three stepchildren, remembers the joy of becoming a father for the first time. Pictured, Cheryl on her wedding day

    Speaking on the show, Roy, who has a son from a previous relationship and three stepchildren, remembers the joy of becoming a father for the first time. Pictured, Cheryl on her wedding day

    After reading the note, Roy says: ‘What these words have done for me, money can’t buy. All the tea in China can’t buy, you know. The hole in me is slowly filling up.’

    Whilst she waits for a flight to the UK to be possible, the ITV team organise for Cheryl to meet Roy over zoom on his 87th birthday.

    It’s the first time they have seen each other in nearly 60 years, and when Cheryl tells her father they will stay in contact from now on, Roy reassures her: ‘Honey, honey, honey, we’re going to stay until the day I pass. Oh yeah, I am telling you that right now.’  

    He adds: ‘I really want to touch you, hold you, you know,’ before Cheryl calls the rest of her family to the screen so they can sing happy birthday to their ‘daddy, grandpa, great-grandpa’.

    After they say their goodbyes, Roy calls his son Gerald, who was also born and raised in New York, to tell him the happy news that Cheryl has been found and that he’s just spoken to her.

    Roy (pictured) says: 'She was a lovely child - one of my great experiences of her, my first child, is changing nappies for the first time and taking her out in her pram. I felt very good as a father.'

    Roy (pictured) says: ‘She was a lovely child – one of my great experiences of her, my first child, is changing nappies for the first time and taking her out in her pram. I felt very good as a father.’

    Meeting outside at a park, Roy (pictured) tells Cheryl that he loves her, while she rests her head on his shoulders

    Meeting outside at a park, Roy (pictured) tells Cheryl that he loves her, while she rests her head on his shoulders

    Cheryl and Gerald meet at a local hotel in New York, while she waits to be allowed to travel to the UK. 

    Finally, Cheryl and her eldest daughter Derisse, 47, fly to London to meet Roy after quarantining, with the father and daughter collapsing into one another’s arms in a moving reunion.  

    Meeting outside at a park, Roy tells Cheryl that he loves her, while she rests her head on his shoulders. 

    Cheryl says: ‘I could just stay like that for the whole night, like I’m a little girl and I got my daddy. It was just the most amazing moment of my life.’ 

    Roy adds: ‘I was on cloud nine, and I feel like I was walking in space, the moment was so great. It made me a new man, yes, a real new man… that guilt is lifted, my life is completed.’

    The moment is equally life-changing for Cheryl. She says: ‘To have someone call you daughter, it’s changed something inside of me. It’s like you get exposed to the sun and you’re like a flower and you just open up and it’s glorious, that’s all, it’s just glorious.’ 

    Since filming, Roy has booked a flight to travel to New York to see his daughter and granddaughter again and meet the rest of the family.

    Long Lost Family airs Tuesday August 31, ITV, 9pm 

    Comments are closed.