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Long Lost Family

  • Episode:

    5 of 7

  • Transmission (TX):

    Mon 15 Jul 2019

  • TX Confirmed

    Yes

  • Time

    9.00pm - 10.00pm

  • Week:

    Week 29 2019 : Sat 13 Jul - Fri 19 Jul

  • Channel:

    ITV

  • Published:

    Tue 02 Jul 2019

The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication - in the public domain - until Tuesday 9 July 2019.

 

Episode 5

 

In the last year over 4000 people from across the UK have contacted the Long Lost Family team asking for help to find missing family members. In this brand new seven-part series, Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell return and, with the help of trained intermediaries, DNA experts and investigators from all over the world, they find people that previously couldn’t be traced and answer questions that have haunted entire lives.

 

The series will feature more extraordinary stories with unexpected twists and turns, including Long Lost Family’s oldest ever searcher at the age of 83, who is desperate to find her daughter before it’s too late. New searches will take the team to locations including Chicago, Brisbane, Belfast and Canada. And for the first time the series will feature a missing person story without a resolution, by making an emotional appeal. 

 

In episode 5, we follow two people haunted by events of the past: a woman whose memory of a week spent with her younger brother 50 years ago is driving her to find him and a man who cannot shake the question “how can a mother give up her child?”

 

Our first story is on behalf of 56 year old Mark Ratcliffe, searching for the birth mother who gave him up for adoption at six months old.

 

Mark was adopted into a loving family based in the small town of Nelson, Lancashire. He had a very happy childhood until at twelve years old, Mark’s parents sat him down and told him he was adopted. The news devastated him. “I didn’t understand. I thought why would your mother give you up? Why? What reason?” It left Mark feeling unwanted and betrayed. “I just felt that I’d lived a fantasy childhood that wasn’t real. It was all fictitious.”

 

Mark finds it difficult to comprehend how any woman, let alone his birth mother, could give a baby away. To distract himself from the unanswered questions, Mark has thrown himself into his career. He works all hours running his own removals business in Eastbourne. “It helps me to forget where I came from.” “I just work, work, work so I don’t have to think too much.”

 

Before Mark can find peace with himself, he needs to know what happened. “I need to find an understanding of why my birth mother did what she did.” “Then I can move on.”

 

When Mark came to us, he’d gathered as much information as he could about his birth mother, he knew her name, Nancy Whiston and the fact she was 25 when he was born. So she’d be in her 80’s today. We started our search by looking for her exact date of birth, and that was when we made a heart-breaking discovery. Sadly, Mark’s birth mother passed away in 2009.

 

However, we found a younger sister, also called Nancy, living just outside Manchester.

 

When Nicky Campbell meets Nancy, we discover Mark’s birth mother had seven other children as well as Mark. They were all brought up in care homes or adopted. “I think we were being neglected, from what I can gather” - Nancy

Although Nancy did spend a bit of time with their mum, she was not aware of Mark’s existence. Nancy was brought up in care and saw her mother on and off under supervised visits until she was twelve years old. Nancy admits that her mother was a difficult woman who drank too much. She was not a nasty person but found life difficult. “She wasn’t a bad woman, there was nothing bad about her.” – Nancy.

 

Nancy is happy to be able to answer some of Mark’s questions about his mother’s situation.  “If I can help him understand, then that’s what I’m happy to do.” – Nancy

 

When Mark and Nancy meet in Manchester she is able to tell him more about his birth mother. “I’m sure if she’d have been here, she would have met you.”

Despite not being able to meet his birth mother, Mark is delighted to have a sister in his life. “To have somebody so close to me, who is my sister that means everything.” - Mark

 

Our second story comes from Peckham and a woman whose chance to connect with her family slipped away 50 years ago.

 

61 year old, grandmother, Alice Jones, has lived in South-East London all her life. Alice’s birth mother and father came to the UK from Jamaica in 1954, as part of a huge influx of Caribbean workers coming to Britain after the Second World War. Both were married to other people, but travelled by boat ahead of their partners in search of work. They met on the ship and fell in love. Alice was the result of their affair.

 

Initially Alice grew-up with both of her birth parents in Greenwich, however her existence was kept a secret from their families in Jamaica. When news came that her parents’ partners were on route to England, the family split. Alice’s mother never told her husband of Alice’s existence, so it was decided that Alice would be brought up by her Dad and his wife. 

 

Alice remained with her birth father and step-mother, but when she was ten years-old she was sent to stay with her birth mother, once her husband had died. Alice had been hoping to have some real connection with the woman who brought her into her life, but there was nothing. She stayed for one week with her Mum and felt no love from her. However, there was one person during her stay, that Alice did find a connection with- her little brother. “This little cuddly boy was there smiling at me. His name was Sam.” - Alice

 

Alice has fond memories of her time with Sam; they played childish games and laughed. But this only lasted a matter of days.  “There was an instant bond. He was my little haven of happiness” – Alice. She didn’t bond with her birth mother and returned home to her Dad and Step-Mum a few days later. “We spent that week together and that was it. I never saw Sam again.” - Alice

 

She has never stopped thinking about what happened to the brother she met 50 years ago.  She has been actively searching for him since. “I never ever forgot about him, and I’ve tried to find him. I have so many questions” – Alice. She returned to the flat where they last saw each other, hoping he’d still be there, but was saddened to learn that the family had moved on.

 

Alice knew some facts about her mother: her name was Emily Richards; her maiden name was Charlton and she had Sam roughly 2 years after Alice. So with all this information we started scouring birth records for Sam. We found a likely match for a Samuel Richards whose mother’s maiden name was Charlton, born in London, in 1958, but we needed to know where Sam was living now. 

 

Searching the electoral rolls we found many Sam Richards of the right age living in London. Our intermediary contacted them one by one until we finally found Alice’s brother. 

 

Living just three miles from Alice, Sam is overjoyed to be found.  And he has a surprise – Alice has two other brothers who were also there at the house when she visited, John and Richard.  

 

Richard doesn’t want to appear on camera but Nicky goes to meet Sam and John in Catford. Nicky discovers that the brothers remember her visit too, and can’t wait to meet her. “It’s my little sister. Can’t wait to meet her.” – John. What’s more John lives in Peckham, the same area as Alice. “I’ve probably passed her dozens of times!” – John

 

The siblings meet in a local pub in Peckham, where Alice and John both live. They immediately connect and are looking forward to the future together. 

“Haven’t had her for 50 years so what remaining time we have got, we’re gonna make it good.” – Sam

 

“I’m embracing this time and it will just last forever.” - Alice

 

Produced by Wall to Wall for ITV.

 

Series overview

 

In the last year over 4000 people from across the UK have contacted the Long Lost Family team asking for help to find missing family members. In this brand new seven-part series, Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell return and with the help of trained intermediaries, DNA experts and investigators from all over the world, they find people that previously couldn’t be traced and answer questions that have haunted entire lives.

 

The series will feature more extraordinary stories with unexpected twists and turns, including the first time the team have taken on a search for someone in the public eye, as singer KT Tunstall searches for her birth father and uncovers many surprises along the way. It also features Long Lost Family’s oldest ever searcher at the age of 83, who is desperate to find her daughter before it’s too late. New searches will take the team to locations including Chicago, Brisbane, Belfast and Canada. And for the first time the series will feature a missing person story without a resolution, by making an emotional appeal.