Best friends who share holidays and hobbies discover they also share blood link and are first cousins

L-R Dave Lang John Townsend
L-R Dave Lang John Townsend
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Two best friends have discovered that they share the same grandparents.

Twenty years after they first met, and after sharing hobbies, holidays, parties and celebrations Dave Lang and John Townsend, found they had in fact something even more special to celebrate.

Dave’s father and John’s mother were brother and sister, but were separated as young children when their parents split up and divided their four children between them.

Dave, 65, who lives on Watermead and works as a teacher, said: “It’s strange, but the fact that we’ve been friends for so long, it felt almost like we were related anyway. We have so many interests in common, fishing, music and photography. John looks more like my dad than I do.”

The friends met 20 years ago when John, now 65, started dating the best friend of Dave’s wife Marcia.

“We all became very close,” said Marcia. “And my friend Pam always used to say that Dave and John were so alike they must be related. They like the same things and come out and say the same things.”

But it wasn’t until Marcia started researching the family tree at the same time John’s sister was doing the same thing that the link between the two friends was found.

The women found a shared ancestor called Theodore William Lang who turned out to be the grandfather of both Dave and John.

Theodore had four children with his first wife and after she died he began a long relationship with Lill James.

The couple went on to have four children of their own, the eldest boy Arthur was Dave’s dad, and the youngest girl Anne was John’s mother.

When Theodore and Lill split up and went on to marry other people, they each took two of the children they shared.

Sadly, the brothers and sisters never met again, and Dave’s father and John’s mother are no longer alive so they cannot share in the joy of the family reunion.

But for the cousins it is a wonderful and welcome surprise. “It’s nice to be related,” said Dave.

And Marcia added: “It has brought our families even closer together.”