Lynott was born in Hallam Hospital (now Sandwell General Hospital) in West Bromwich (then in Staffordshire), England, and christened at St. Edwards Church in Selly Park, Birmingham. His mother, Philomena (or Phyllis) Lynott (b. 22 October 1930), is Irish, and his father was Cecil Parris, an Afro-Guyanese. Some news and fan-site sources said that he was an Afro-Brazilian, but in an August 2009 interview Parris's wife said that he was from Georgetown, British Guiana. This was confirmed by Philomena Lynott in July 2010. Lynott's mother met Parris in Birmingham in 1948 and they saw each other for a few months, until Parris was transferred to London. Shortly afterwards, Philomena found she was pregnant and, after Philip was born, she moved with her baby to a home for unmarried mothers in Selly Oak, Birmingham. When Parris learned of Philip's birth, he returned to Birmingham and arranged accommodation for Philomena and Philip in the Blackheath area of the city. Her relationship with Parris lasted two more years although he was still working in London and they did not live together. Philomena subsequently moved to Manchester but stayed in touch with Parris and, although she turned down a marriage proposal from him, he agreed to pay towards his son's support.
Parris's wife stated in 2009 that Philomena also had a daughter and a second son with Parris, both of whom were given up for adoption. Philomena finally spoke of these children in July 2010, nearly twenty-five years after Philip's death, when the Irish Mail on Sunday and Irish Daily Mail ran a twelve page interview with her over three days. She revealed that her three children all had different fathers, and that her daughter was white. She had met her now-grown children, but they had never met their brother Philip. He knew he had a sister, but never knew he had a brother. Lynott did not see his father again until the late 1970s.
When he was four years old, Philip went to live with his grandmother, Sarah Lynott, in Crumlin, Dublin; his mother stayed in Manchester.
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