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Runaway Gamal Turawa is reunited with Sheppey family who took him in more than 40 years ago

By John Nurden

Gamal Turawa ended up in Kent in the mid-1970s after running away from his abusive father.

Now 55, he appealed to readers in Sheppey for help to track down the family which gave him a bed for a night.

Allison Champ, who now lives in Northampton, read our story on Kent Online and is now in touch with Mr Turawa.

Gamal Turawa: searching for a Sheppey family who took him in (8363866)
Gamal Turawa: searching for a Sheppey family who took him in (8363866)

She said: "We knew him as Victor.

"I can still remember that night when my older brother Darren brought him back to our house in Rushenden.

"He had been taking the dog for a walk and came back and told mum he had found a boy.

"My mum asked 'What do you mean you FOUND a boy?'

"He was a little black boy all alone.

"We called the police but they allowed him to stay with us that night.

"I remember seeing him in a pair of my brother's blue paisley pyjamas. It was so memorable. We always wondered what happened to him."

"It was so memorable. We always wondered what happened to him..." - Allison Champ

Her mother Glenys and younger brother Stephen still live on Sheppey. The family is now making plans to hold a reunion.

Mr Turawa went on to join the Metropolitan Police and has recently retired.

When our sister paper the Times Guardian broke the news to him he said: "That's fantastic. Thank you so much.

"This really means a lot."

He had been trying to get to Canterbury to see his foster parents but caught the wrong train at London Victoria and ended up in Queenborough.

He recalled: “I arrived at night and just had enough money for a portion of chips. But as I was walking along the beach I bumped into some youngsters with a dog. They took me back home to their parents where we watched Cleopatra on the TV.”

The next morning police took Mr Turawa away.

He said: “I never knew their name but I’m pretty sure they will remember that night because they said I was the first black kid they had ever seen.

"I must have stuck out like a sore thumb.”

Read more: All the latest news from Sittingbourne

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