Portrait of a mystery

PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:59 17 June 2010

Portrait of a mystery

Portrait of a mystery

Copyright Archant Ltd

AN EXETER man is appealing to Sidmothians in the hope that someone can shed some light on his mother s mysterious past. Peter Yates, 73, of Sweet Briar Lane, Exeter, contacted the Herald after a wedding photograph, which shows his mother, Dorothy Yates,

AN EXETER man is appealing to Sidmothians in the hope that someone can shed some light on his mother's mysterious past.

Peter Yates, 73, of Sweet Briar Lane, Exeter, contacted the Herald after a wedding photograph, which shows his mother, Dorothy Yates, nee Pearse, was recently unearthed.

The photograph, taken outside Sidmouth Parish Church in the 1940s, which Peter's sister, Jennie, had stored in her house since their mother died in January 2002, was only found a few weeks ago.

Peter and his sister do not recognise any of the people in the photograph except for their mother, who is the shadowy figure, second on the top left, and they know very little of her past.

"She was always in the shadows in photographs-there was never a clear one," said Peter.

"My mum never spoke about her childhood- I think it was because she was adopted. "The more we look into it, the more mystery there is."

The only information Peter can find about Dorothy's early years is from looking at her birth and marriage certificates.

Dorothy was born to William and Annee Pearse, nee Hearn in 1909. On her birth certificate it says her father's profession was an accountant and her mother was from Bodmin.

She was then adopted by a couple from Sidmouth, both of whom Peter never met.

He added: "My sister remembers going to Sidmouth with our mother when she was very little to meet the adoptive parents but she can't remember where or when.

"All I really know is that my mother was born in Exeter in a place we can't find and was adopted by a couple from Sidmouth."

When Dorothy married Peter's father in 1929 there is no record of her parent's names on the marriage certificate.

The certificate says Dorothy was a domestic servant and lived with Wilfred, a gardener, at 2 Gills Cottages, Cheeke Street, Exeter, which has subsequently been demolished.

Peter does not know when Dorothy moved back to Exeter from Sidmouth.

He said: "If there is anybody left in Sidmouth who was in the photograph or is related to this family I would just like to say hello and find out what happened with my mum."

If anyone has information about the photo please contact Beth Henzell at the Herald on (01395) 515191.

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