Parents retrace late daughters roundtheworld trip to meet Tongan baby girl she
After dinner with Meleane, the couple made their final stop at Paradise Hotel in Ta’anea, which Dr Clark had stayed at during her trip.”As I slowly shut the door to room 115 [where she had stayed], I felt a strong sense of personal closure,” Mr Clark said.”We had followed Lisa’s footsteps though her diaries, we had seen what she wanted us to see, we had touched on her foreign experiences.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. She told her father on her deathbed: “Dad, I don’t want to be forgotten.”The trip, from December 15, 2018 to January 17, 2019, saw Mr and Mrs Clark travel from Chandler’s Ford, Hants, to Macquarie Island near New Zealand to photograph rare Royal penguins, the New Zealand Northlands, and the Tongan Island of Vava’u, where the baby was delivered. Lisa holding baby MeleaneCredit:Solent News Writing about the delivery in her journal, Lisa said: “I went to the hospital and after a lot of waiting around I delivered my first baby and it weighed 9lb 12oz.”It was all a bit nerve wracking but I loved it. It was the mother’s eighth baby – she was 40 – and it was a little girl this time.”The lady was very proud though and even named her after me.”After a visit Ta’anea hospital where the child was born on January 28, 1997, a village resident recognised the mother from the Clark’s photograph and directed them to the family’s house.Mr Clark said that, after a halting introduction, they had managed to communicate with the Tongan family via one member who spoke English, eventually being introduced to the 21-year-old girl, who is now called Meleane. Roger Clark with Meleane, the baby girl delivered 21 years agoCredit:Solent News Dr Clark, who worked as an A&E consultant, was 26 when she was sent to train in Tonga by her London medical school in 1997, and wrote letters to her parents recommending places for them to stay. Lisa Clark in room 115 of the Paradise Hotel, TongaCredit:Solent News “We had to prove to them we were friendly and honest, and we ended up having a wonderful connection with Meleane and the family.” Meleane, who was delivered by Lisa Clark Credit:Solent News “I really felt very humbled to meet the family,” said Mr Clark. “I knew, for me, it was a really important moment and I wanted to make this girl feel special, but I thought about it from her angle – we were just some tourists with some loose connection to her. Parents who have travelled the world in memory of their late daughter have retraced her steps to Tonga to find the first baby she ever delivered.Roger and Lynette Clark, who are in their 70s, followed entries in the travel journal kept by their daughter Lisa, who died aged 40 of ovarian cancer in October 2012.In 2016, they travelled 8,000 miles to photograph the same breed of penguin that featured an old postcard from Lisa from her holiday in Australia, then made the trip a second time after realising they had captured the wrong bird.They have now completed a mission to meet the baby girl Lisa, a doctor, delivered 21 years ago during her medical training in Tonga. Armed with just a name and a picture of the mother and baby after the birth, Mr Clark spent a month trying to trace the girl before embarking on the month-long trip.He contacted genealogy experts, the hospital where the baby was delivered, the Ministry of Tourism in Tonga and the Tonga Registry Office, even posting on Facebook, before finally getting the name of the girl’s village, Ta’anea, from the Tonga High Commission in London.