Facebook group helps creative director uncover mystery behind photo of father

Lee Williamson’s father Ian died at the age of 23 in a car crash (Lee Williamson/PA)
Lee Williamson’s father Ian died at the age of 23 in a car crash (Lee Williamson/PA)

A creative director who “didn’t really have any memories” of his father who he died when he was just two was able to “build a persona” of him thanks to an old photo and a local Facebook group.

Lee Williamson’s father, Ian, died at the age of 23 in a car crash and, without many ways of finding out more about him due to personal reasons, he uploaded one of the few photos of the pair together, from 1983, to a High Wycombe Facebook group in the hope someone could help.

“I wasn’t quite sure where it was taken, but I just knew it was from High Wycombe somewhere, so one of my friends – who lives in High Wycombe – said to leave it with a couple of his friends but they weren’t sure,” the 42-year-old, who now lives in Lanesborough, Co Longford, Ireland, told the PA news agency.

“So, I posted it in a Facebook group and lots of people started interacting with it.

Man holding baby
Lee Williamson as a baby with his father Ian (Lee Williamson/PA)

“I had no idea that was going to happen.”

Liz Parry, 62, who used to babysit Mr Williamson, happened across the post and from there, a phone call was set up between the pair on Friday.

Ms Parry, who now lives in Iver, Buckinghamshire, and is retired, told PA that as soon as she saw the picture, she recognised both Mr Williamson and his father as she lived next door to them on Hylton Road, High Wycombe, for about two to three years.

“I used to help the family out by babysitting them and we’d spend time together at games evenings or would have drinks together,” she said.

She said Mr Williamson’s late father was always on the lookout for a “good deal to give the family a good home”.

She added when Mr Williamson was a baby, he was “lovely”.

“He was always happy and laughing and smiling and wanting to play,” she added.

Woman sitting on fence
Liz Parry when she was about 19 or 20 (Liz Parry/PA)

“He was a really happy little baby.”

She said the conversation with him on Friday was a “lovely” way to catch up after so many years.

“That little baby that I used to look after is now in his 40s and has his own children,” she said.

“It’s nice to see how well he is doing now as well because I wondered what happened to the family after they left (the area) after Ian’s passing.”

Mr Williamson said: “The chat on the phone was nice.

“I found out he was a bit of a Del Boy character, he was always looking for a way to make a business and was only 23 when he died.”

Man looking at camera
Lee Williamson turned to Facebook to find out more about his father (Lee Williamson/PA)

“I didn’t really know that he was my father until I was 10 – when I stumbled upon a bunch of documents in the attic while playing with a Scalectrix car toy – and so I didn’t really have any memory of him to be able to build a persona of who my father used to be.

“I have two of my own kids now, so can talk to them about stories about their grandad – it just gives you a sense of closure.”

Mr Williamson said it was “nice” to see Facebook lead to something “positive”.

“Everyone who replied was very encouraging and it showed that High Wycombe is a very nice place to be and the people that lived there had fond memories.”