Cilla Black

Welsh roots ‘surprise’ for Cilla

She may have built her reputation as a Liverpudlian star of the Merseybeat scene but Cilla Black was fascinated to discover her Welsh roots during the making of a new BBC Wales documentary.

The 62-year-old star of ITV’s Blind Date travelled to north-east Wales to trace her family on her mother’s side. She was told how her grandfather Joseph Blythen had walked from Wrexham to Liverpool in 1895 in search of work.

Cilla Black Coming Home will be on BBC One Wales on St David’s Day, 1 March. With help from the programme team, Cilla discovered that her real name – Priscilla – was a family heirloom that she and her mother shared with two Welsh ancestors.

Cilla met genealogists, local historians and distant relations to discover more about her north Walian roots, which can be traced back as far as 1720. She was told how her great-great grandmother Sophia was sent to Holywell workhouse after having two illegitimate children.

 During the filming, the presenter of ITV’s Surprise, Surprise met Gwen Poole from Wrexham and discovered they were related. Now in her 90s, Gwen could clearly remember Cilla’s great-grandmother, who was born in 1842. Cilla’s grandfather Joe settled in Liverpool after leaving Wrexham as a teenager in late Victorian times.

“I’m a grandmother now and I really wanted my grandson Max to know about my side of the family. I have had an incredible journey looking into my family history. I have never been to this part of the world before but I feel completely at home, there will always be a part of me that will never leave Wales” she added.

Priscilla Maria Veronica White OBE (27 May 1943 – 1 August 2015), better known as Cilla Black, was an English singer and television presenter.

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