Long lost relatives are reunited by EADT article

Richard Bowdidge with his family: From left to right: Nikki, Emma, Tom and Richard Bowdidge

Richard Bowdidge with his family: From left to right: Nikki, Emma, Tom and Richard Bowdidge - Credit: Archant

Long lost relatives who live less than 30 miles apart have got in touch thanks to an article in the East Anglian Daily Times.

Edward Bowdidge with his wife, Eileen

Edward Bowdidge with his wife, Eileen - Credit: Archant

The EADT reported on a charity project which was raising funds in memory of Tom Bowdidge, from Colchester, who died of cancer in 2013 aged just 19.

The 1,000 Faces project aims to photograph 1,000 people in aid of the Tom Bowdidge Foundation (TBF), set up by his family, and is doing a photoshoot at the Colchester United stadium at tomorrow’s match against Leyton Orient.

Kerseys Solicitors has agreed to donate £1,000 if photographer Gavin King gets 1,000 photos at the club, which is also backing the project.

Stowmarket resident Edward Bowdidge, 74, contacted Richard – Tom’s father – after spotting the unusual surname in the article.

Edward’s great grandfather, Alfred John, from 1861 to1949

Edwards great grandfather, Alfred John, from 1861 to1949 - Credit: Archant

The fourth cousins share a great-great-great-grandfather, John, who had 10 children from the 1830s onwards, and can trace their lineage as far back as 1750.

Edward descends from John’s son Joseph, while Richard, 47, is from another son called Robert.

Richard, who set up the TBF with wife Nikki and daughter Emma, said: “I was shocked and pleasantly surprised when I got the phone call.

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“I couldn’t believe the chances of finding a long lost relative just 30 miles away.”

Edward has agreed to be photographed as part of the project alongside Richard at the Weston Homes Community Stadium tomorrow.

Edward, a retired biochemistry researcher, said: “The Bowdidge name is very rare and I thought there must be a connection.

“We had a natural rapport when we spoke and when I looked into it further, I found we were fourth cousins.

“The story about his son moved me and I thought taking part in the 1,000 Faces would be a good opportunity to meet him and contribute to charities in aid of cancer.”

Richard added: “I thought the Bowdidge name would end with me after Tom died, as he was the only boy on this side of the family. It’s nice to know the name will continue.

“I’m very grateful to everyone for getting this project off the ground. An added and unexpected bonus is finding a long lost relative, which probably never would have happened if it weren’t for this project.”

To find out more about the 1,000 Faces project and how to get involved, visit the TBF website.