UK Cypriot Nick Christou and his sister are eligible for £70,000 each after legal costs after discovering they were next of kin of their estranged grandfather.

Staffordshire-based Jim Ross, who died last year aged 80, lost contact with his daughter Beverley more than 30 years ago following tension around her battle with alcohol and drugs.

Having moved to King’s Lynn in the 1980s, Beverley started a family, yet tragically died in 2016. She never referred to her relationship with her father while raising her two children.

Beverley’s son Nick, 31, a manager at McDonald’s in West Lynn, discovered the unexpected inheritance after being contacted by heir hunting firm, Finders International, who feature on popular BBC1 daytime show Heir Hunters who were asked to take on the case and trace possible family members.

Despite Mr Ross’s estate only appearing to have £5,000 worth of assets, Finders International decided to help the solicitors and council trace next of kin, in Nick, and his sister Katherine, 24.

Further investigation into Mr Ross’s assets revealed a bank account with in excess of £150,000 – the result of a lottery syndicate win.

Mr Christou said: “This entire episode has been life changing, not least in the unexpected cash, but in closing a painful chapter in my family’s history. My mum never discussed my grandfather so we went our entire lives to date thinking we didn’t have one.

“Having lost our mum due to complications with her battle with alcohol and drugs, we feel our granddad and mum are smiling on us kids through this positive outcome. We have further discovered that our granddad did try to connect with us through our mum over the years, and that shows his positive intention.”

Mr Christou whose father was Cypriot and his wife Karen, 43, who have four children, have used some of the money for a belated honeymoon to Las Vegas as they could not afford one seven years ago following their wedding.

Danny Curran, founder of Finders International and renowned genealogist, said: “The best part of probate research, or heir hunting, is what we uncover, and how family members react when they’re connected after years apart of contrasting lives.

“Nick Christou’s story proves the importance of trying to at least know members of your family, even if fallouts have occurred. Personally, for me, it’s fantastic to see younger beneficiaries for a change, in the case of Nick and his sister, both in their 20s and 30s – a real boost in life for them both.”

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