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Folkestone band Orfila discover family links to actress Michelle Keegan

By Charlie Harman

A family band from Folkestone have discovered they may be related to actress Michelle Keegan after watching TV show Who Do You Think You Are?

Orfila, made up of Abi, Louise, and Matt Orfila, were watching the family history programme last week when a familiar name came up: Mrs Keegan’s great-grandmother Leonor Orfila.

Louise Orfila, 25, said: “It was incredibly surreal to hear our surname on Who Do You Think You Are.

Michelle Keegan in Our Girl
Michelle Keegan in Our Girl

"Orfila is quite a unique name and as soon as we heard Michelle’s great grandmother was originally an Orfila from Gibraltar, we knew we had to be related. Gibraltar is so small and any Orfilas on the rock are related in some way, shape or form. Our family originated from Gibraltar - our dad was born there - so we instantly knew there must be a connection.”

Orfila played at the O2 arena in 2016 and have since had a top 10 track on the iTunes UK Country Chart.

But how are they related to the 31-year-old star of Our Girl?

Matt, 29, of Radnor Street, said: “Our relationship to Michelle is distant but also not so distant.

Orfila, from left, Abi, Matt and Louise
Orfila, from left, Abi, Matt and Louise
Orfila in action
Orfila in action
Michelle Keegan as Tina McIntyre in Coronation Street
Michelle Keegan as Tina McIntyre in Coronation Street

"We checked out the family tree and also contacted family in Gibraltar and it turns out that our great grandfather, John Baptista Orfila was cousins with Leonor Orfila.

"We have no idea what that makes us in relation to Michelle though, a distant cousin perhaps!”

In the episode, the actress, who also played Tina McIntyre in ITV soap Coronation Street, discovered that Leonor was evacuated from Gibraltar to the apparent safety of London only a month before the Blitz began.

She also found out that her great-grandmother’s birth certficate was signed by Emmeline Pankhurst, a registrar before leading the Suffragette movement.

The band released their third album Built With A Dreamer’s Hand in December.

Abi, 23, also of Repton Street, said: “It’s really cool to see that we’re related to someone who has become successful and recognisable within the entertainment industry, because we have always performed in one way or another even before we started the band."

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