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Eight-year wait over as their dad flies in

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 25, 2013

SPECIAL MOMENT: Cory meeting children Tyler and Melodie for the first time in eight years.

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CHRISTMAS will be extra special for one Wadebridge family after two children won a competition to have their dad flown over from New Zealand – seeing him for the first time in eight years.

Cory Duggan, 39, was flown all the way from the other side of the world to spend the festive period with his family in West Hill, Wadebridge after daughter Melodie, 10, and son Tyler, 8, sent in their nomination to win a Pirate FM competition.

An emotional Cory arrived at Newquay airport on Tuesday morning after taking a connecting flight from London and was greeted by his family in the arrivals lounge.

He said: "It was very emotional; it's been tough not seeing them. I'm visiting for six weeks so it will be great to finally spend some quality time together."

Cory, from Paeroa near Auckland, met mother Becky Hepworth, 32, in the UK, where Melodie was born.

In 2004 they decided to move to New Zealand, where Tyler was born. However Becky found it hard to settle in the new country and was homesick for Cornwall.

"I was only there a year but was terribly homesick, missed my family and made the difficult decision to return home," she said.

Upon their return Becky and the two children settled in Wadebridge but Cory, a truck driver, wasn't able to come with them and Melodie and Tyler haven't seen him since.

Becky said: "For the past eight years Cory has been keeping in contact with the children on the phone, and for years Tyler even thought his daddy lived in the phone. They haven't seen him for over eight years so Cory was just a voice out of the phone."

However over the past week the family have been bonding and making up for lost time.

Becky said: "He's been bonding with the kids really well and Tyler especially won't leave him alone, always saying 'I love you daddy' and hugging him."

The children's nomination read: "Me and my brother haven't seen him (dad) in years ... this is the only pres-ent we want for Christmas."

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