Long-lost brothers reunited after 60 years thanks to council’s Green Homes Grant
16th December 2021
It was the joy of having a newly insulated home that led Leslie Clark to help promote Three Rivers District Council’s Green Homes Grant to other residents. But in an extraordinary twist of fate, a magazine article about the scheme featuring his smiling face found its way into the hands of his long-lost brother Peter, who he hadn’t seen for 60 years.
When 88-year-old Leslie Clark shared his story about his new home insulation as part of publicity for the Green Homes Grant he posed for photos outside his Abbots Langley property. His story was featured in the local press and Watford Community Housing’s regular magazine.
One resident who read the story was 79-year-old Peter Clark, who was outside gardening when his copy arrived.
“I sat down with a cup of tea and I saw the picture,” explained Peter. “I thought ‘it looks like my brother, it has the same name as him… but is it him?’”
Peter made a call to Watford Community Housing and eventually the brothers were put in touch.
“His son called me up the same evening. Les was a bit worried it might be a hoax, so I said ‘see if he can remember this – there is this one thing that no one knows about other than Les and the family. Ask him about the black box he used to keep under his bed.’ And Les said ‘yes’ right away – ‘that’s him!’”
The black box in question was where, as a young man, Leslie used to keep his weekly wages.
Long lost brothers Leslie Clark and Peter Clark who have been reunited thanks to publicity for the Green Homes Grant.
After moving out of home, and then subsequently moving house several times, Leslie got married and lost trace of his youngest brother. Although they both remained living in and around the same area – they had no contact details.
Peter said: “We must have passed loads of times, I was about 20 minutes’ walk from where he lived at one time.”
The brothers have now met up for the first time in decades, visited each other’s houses and shared pictures and memories.
Leslie said: “As soon as he started talking I knew it was him. He looks very like my late brother Ron. The strange thing is that he lived right on my doorstep and he didn’t know it and I didn’t know it until he saw that picture. It’s only Peter and me left now, the rest of the family has passed away.”
Cllr Sarah Nelmes, the Leader of Three Rivers District Council, said: “I am delighted that through an attempt to encourage residents to take advantage of our Green Homes Grant scheme, we have managed to bring two long lost brothers back together. This is a heartwarming story and I wish both Leslie and Peter great joy as they catch up on events over the past sixty years. I would like to remind residents that this grant scheme is still available, and I invite others to do as Leslie did and make their homes more efficient and more environmentally friendly in the process.”
Three Rivers’ Green Homes Grant scheme aims to help the country become carbon neutral by 2050, while also helping households save money on energy bills, stay warm in winter, cool in summer, and reduce their carbon footprints.
Residents can apply for this funding if they have a combined household income of less than £30,000 per year and live in a property with a low energy efficiency rating (G, F, E or D rating).
The councils have partnered with energy company E.ON to deliver the grant funding and are encouraging residents who think they may qualify to contact E.ON and take advantage of the opportunity while it is available.
Contact E.ON on their free helpline 0333 202 4820 or visit https://www.eonenergy.com/green-homes-grant.html to learn more.