When Tammy James set out to track down her long lost father at the age of 17, she was saddened to discover she was three months too late.

But it did not deter her in her quest to find out more about the father she had not seen since early childhood.

On Monday, nearly 30 years after she started, Mrs James' searching was rewarded when her unusual middle name united her with the brother she never knew she had.

Mrs James, an administrative worker at Coventry Cathedral, had always been curious about her gifted but mercurial father who parted from her mother soon after her birth.

In the late 70s she came across an article by writer father, Merrill Ferguson, in the Radio Times magazine, and seeing the name sparked a desire to find him - but her inquiries revealed he had died three months earlier.

She began a correspondence with her father's West Indian mother and briefly made contact with an older half-brother, Roger, from Mr Ferguson's previous marriage. But he lost touch with her some time later.

"I had always felt as though there was 50 per cent of me missing," said Mrs James, now aged 45.

"When you turn 40 I think you start looking back as well as forward and realise how important family is.

"I had the internet so every now and again I put a search in for Roger's name, to try and find him.

"I got up early last Monday morning and thought I would have another look.

"Our father had a habit of giving his children the middle name of Merrill ? or in my case, Merryl.

"This time my search brought up someone trying to find Merrill Ferguson.

"It seemed such a coincidence I typed a reply, saying that was my father's name."

The man searching for information on Merrill was Kyle Mew, Tammy's half-brother from her father's third marriage.

"When I found out he was my half-brother I was banjaxed, it's the only word for it," she said. "I spent the rest of the day walking round with a big smile on my face, wanting to tell everyone I had a new brother.

"We are quite similar in tastes and appearance. We've both got insane black curly hair.

"I'll never know my father but finding my brother is like slotting in another piece of the jigsaw. It helps with the emptiness."

Kyle Mew, aged 42, lives in London and is an IT teacher for people with learning difficulties. A former cartoonist, he had always believed he was an only child.

The last time he saw his father was when he was aged just nine months and his mother's family rarely mentioned him, and changed his surname to theirs.

But Mr Mew had always been curious.

"I'd been trying on and off to find my father for 15 years," he said. "I knew he had written a book and was trying to get a copy of that from the British Library. It's important to know where you come from and I was disappointed to find he had died, although I'd never known him.

"It was lovely but very surprising to find Tammy. I'm still trying to take it in."

Mrs James and her half-brother plan to meet up in Coventry for the first time later this month.

A spokeswoman for Coventry diocese said Mrs James' discovery fitted in with the cathedral's mission of reconciliation, started after the Second World War.