AS he heard about his great-grand-niece for the first time, Billy Young was “laughing and crying”, says his sister Janette.

The Glasgow Times helped reunite long-lost siblings Billy and Janette Donnelly after a plea from the heart all the way from Canada.

Billy’s granddaughter Shareen told us he was desperate to track down the sister he had not seen for more than 30 years. We ran a story and, within 24 hours, Janette had got in touch.

“My sister-in-law Kathleen told me my picture was in the newspaper,” she explains with a laugh. “I couldn’t understand it – then I read the story and it was unbelievable.”

The siblings lost touch after their mother died.

“It was just one of those things,” says Janette, who now lives in Largs with her husband Pat. “It was lovely to hear his voice again – that hadn’t changed at all. I was sad to hear he is going blind – that was something I didn’t know, and I was sorry to hear that.”

Billy, who is now 85, and Janette, 76, were brought up in Calton and lived on Market Street.

In 1967, he moved to Canada with his wife Annette, and their two daughters, Linda and Elaine. Recently he has suffered from heart disease and earlier this year had open-heart surgery.

Janette is now married to Pat, and she has a son Robert and daughter Jan, four grandchildren and new baby great-granddaughter Demi-Grace, born in May.

“Billy is recovering well after his surgery – he is doing fine,” says Janette.

“We have arranged to speak every few weeks on the phone.”

She adds with a laugh: “I’m looking forward to our next chat because I think I cried non-stop through the first one. It was very emotional but I’m really pleased we are in touch again, thanks to Shareen and the Glasgow Times.”

Shareen said: “We are over the moon. My grandfather is so happy. It means the world to him.”