Margaret Guerin was visiting her brother John, who has advanced motor neuron disease, when they starting discussing 'Big John', who John had met and become "best, best, inseparable friends" while studying to be electrical engineers in Leicester.
Nicknamed because of his rugby player's stature, the two Johns were bound to each other, before marriage and other life paths caused them to drift apart. In the meantime, John Guerin married Marian, who he is still with, but was diagnosed with MND a number of years ago.
"To be quite truthful", Margaret explained on a call from her home in Leicester, "he was really fit and we used to tease him, but he started getting pains in his legs. And Marian one day said 'Right, that's it, in you go to A&E and unfortunately it took nine months to diagnose him."
She added that while he's doing great, "he has always wanted to see John again".
Now, 48 years later, John (68) wants to reconnect.
Margaret Guerin called #Liveline this morning. Her brother John has Motor Neuron Disease. He wrote Margaret a note at the weekend asking her to "find, find, find" his old friend John Moran from Louth.— Liveline (@rteliveline) November 13, 2018
John Moran is on the line and he's talking to Margaret now. @joeliveline
John, who can no longer speak, wrote his sister a simple note during their visit on Sunday. "My brother actually wrote ‘John Moran Drogheda Co Louth’ and he said ‘find, find, find.’"
Joe Duffy cautioned that John Moran is a "very common name" in Ireland, but nonetheless before the show had finished broadcasting there was a John Moran on the line from Drogheda.
"Are you the John Moran, are you Big John?" Joe asked.
"I am, yeah", Big John replied.
Margaret's exclamations of "Oh, my god, I can't believe it!" are entirely understandable, and shared by Big John who said, "This is a very emotional thing after 48 years".
Far from having forgotten their years as best friends, Big John had tried to make contact in the past. "Strangely enough, I was clearing out a few drawers a couple of years ago and I came across this letter that he wrote to me in 1972 or something. It’s strange, I tried to make contact, I tried to make inquiries."
Margaret vividly remembered their history together, especially one detail: "You bought me my first pair of Wranglers!"
To hear this particularly heartwarming story, as well as what Big John got up to over the last 48 years, listen back to the clip!