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Long Lost Family

  • Episode: 

    6 of 6

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Wed 08 Jul 2015
  • TX Confirmed: 

    Yes
  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 28 2015 : Sat 04 Jul - Fri 10 Jul
  • Channel: 

    ITV
  • Status: 

    Last in series
The information contained herein is embargoed from press use, commercial and non-commercial reproduction and sharing into the public domain until  Tuesday 30th June 2015. 
 
The last episode in series features two stories of women trying to make sense of their identity: A foundling searching for her mother who abandoned her on a doorstep; and a woman who has never met her father.
 
 
Alley Lofthouse searching for her birth mother
 
In this week’s episode we take on one of our toughest and most extraordinary searches to date.
 
Forty eight year old Alley Lofthouse is a devoted mother and wife. Raised by a loving adoptive family, she has a happy life.  Despite this, she feels a profound need to resolve the mystery of her own birth.  Alley is a ‘foundling’.
 
“I just need to know, I need to know what happened.”
 
Having always known that she was adopted, it was when she was a teenager that Alley first discovered that the circumstances behind her adoption were more unusual than she could have imagined. 
 
She was told that she had been abandoned at birth and, although the police had searched, there were no clues to the identity of her mother and nobody had ever come forward.  Local newspapers at the time set out the details: Alley had been found in the early hours of a cold February morning by a local paper boy. She was on the doorstep of a block of flats in the Scottish town of Grangemouth. Only a few hours old, she was discovered wrapped in a pillowcase.
 
As a teenager Alley resigned herself to the likelihood that she would never learn anything further about her birth mother. It wasn’t until she gave birth to her own daughter that she began to think more about her birth mother and how horrendous it must have been to have to abandon a newborn child. 
 
“…she didn’t discard me…she left me somewhere for me to be found. Now that little simple act to me was an act of love.”
 
In 2003, Alley resolved to begin searching for her birth mother and decided the only way she would get answers would be to take her search public.  She put her story on the internet where it was picked up by a magazine, and then by the national press. That same week she received a call from a man called Iain Hogg.  Amazingly, he had also been abandoned as a baby in Grangemouth in a pillowcase – and only 18 months after Alley. The similarities between their stories convinced Alley and Iain they should take a DNA test. They were overwhelmed when the results came back and they discovered that they were half-brother and -sister, sharing the same mother.
 
Iain was Alley’s first blood connection to her past and she has never forgotten the intensity and joy of finding out she has a brother. 
 
“…that was it.  We were brother and sister. 12 years on every time I say it – it still gets me…”
 
Still searching for clues, Alley desperately wants to know who she is, where she comes from, and why her mother felt so desperate that she left her on a doorstep of a flat in a tenement block.
 
Long Lost Family takes up the case and pursues any leads that Alley has.
 
 
Jade Hartley searching for her father Tony King
 
We follow a daughter searching for the father she’s never seen in person.
 
“I’ve only ever had a photograph of him and that’s all I’ve ever known of him.” “It’s hard to picture him in anything but black and white.”
 
Thirty two year old Jade Hartley is a hairdresser in the town of Seaham in County Durham.  
 
“He was called Tony King and he was from Barbados …,” she says of her father.
 
Growing up, Jade was often singled out for being mixed-race.
 
“People would pick up on that my father was black.”
 
Jade had nobody in her life who shared this experience.
 
“Everyone in my family is white…I’m getting picked on for all these things, but there’s nobody that actually shares these traits in my family.”
 
Jade wanted to know more about the man she’d inherited her looks from.  Her mother Glynis was very open with Jade and gave Jade a photograph of her father Tony King, from a local newspaper article about him from 1982 – when he’d been in Seaham on a cricket exchange from Barbados.
 
Tony and Glynis met while he was contracted to play for Seaham in the early 1980s. During his final season Glynis fell pregnant.  The relationship fell apart and, with the end of Tony’s contract, he left Seaham.  Glynis and Tony didn’t exchange addresses and lost all contact.  
 
Jade feels no resentment towards her father.  She says: “He must have thought about that life that he’d created back in England.”
 
When Jade was ten, her mother Glynis married Jade’s stepfather and they had two children, Jade’s younger half-siblings.  They have always been close.
 
But despite her loving family, Jade has always felt the absence of the man who she’s related to.  She’s tried to track him down, without success, and yearns to meet him.  
 
Long Lost Family scours the local papers in the archives and finds the article from 1982 featuring Tony King. This focuses the search in Barbados and Nicky sets off in search of Tony.