This is the emotional moment a man who was left on the steps of a London church by his Irish Catholic parents discovered his mother was still alive and wanted to meet him in tonight’s Long Lost Family: Born Without Trace.
Andy Hallsworth, 57, was born ‘on or about 31 August 1965’ and his birth parents abandoned him six weeks later in the British capital to avoid being outcasts in their very religious families after falling pregnant before their wedding.
His mother was married to his father six months into her pregnancy – but fearing rejection at home for conceiving out of wedlock, the parents left their son at a church on Sutherland Place in Bayswater.
He was discovered and later adopted, leading a happy childhood without being told he was abandoned, but when questioned about his medical history before the birth of his first of two children, he was told he was a foundling.
Andy Hallsworth, 57, pictured, was told that his mother was still alive and wanted to meet him during tonight’s episode of Long Lost Family Born Without Trace
He also visited the church where he was abandoned, pictured, St Mary of the Angels in Bayswater
Wanting to find his biological parents, zoo keeper Andy, of Norfolk, asked Long Lost Family for help – and eventually, thanks to DNA testing, found that his mother was still alive in Ireland and wanted to meet him.
He was also the eldest of eight children. His father sadly died in 2009, having always been married to his mother, who wanted to remain unidentified.
Returning to the place where he was abandoned for the first time, Andy said: ‘That’s the church then I guess. All I know was my name was David Sutherland, that I was found in Sutherland Place near or on the steps of a church.
‘This is where I got my surname. It’s so strange to think that this is where possibly my mum must have left me.’
Andy cried during the episode, pictured, when he discovered that there was a birth certificate for him
Andy had discovered that he was likely to have been placed on the steps at the back of St Mary of the Angels church on Sutherland Place, pictured
He continued: ‘Thinking of my mum maybe coming down this road and putting me here, seems like a really lovely church and she must have thought I want someone to find him.
‘I don’t even know what day it was, that’s why I’d like to find out more about my circumstances, and why,’ said the married father-of-two.
Growing up, Andy had a happy childhood with his adopted parents and said he ‘never really thought about the whole being adopted, it didn’t bother me.’
However, when his wife was pregnant with their first child, doctors asked Andy for his medical history so he broached the subject of his adoption with his adopted parents.
‘Dad was very upset when he told me, “you were an abandoned baby, you were found on the steps of a church”‘, recalled Andy, who didn’t even have a birth certificate at that point.
Andy, pictured, was amazed to discover that he had seven other siblings and has since met his mother, who did not wish to be identified on the programme
‘I don’t even know if the 31st August is my birthday, who found me, anything, would love to know all of that, but I don’t,’ said the zoo keeper.
Eventually the Long Lost Family researchers located a birth certificate for Andy, which reveals he was born in August, but wasn’t found until 22 October 1965.
‘That’s amazing, but that means I was with my mum… that means she looked after me for two months,’ an emotional Andy said.
‘You know you think to yourself what was she going through, struggling from the end of August to the end of October and to have given me up, it must have taken a lot,’ he added.
He later continued: ‘Its made me think about my birth mother. I think she loved me, that she wanted me to be found, it must’ve been a terrible situation to been in to have to do what she had to do.
The church steps, pictured, where Andy thought he was abandoned, in Bayswater. He later discovered he was likely abandoned at the back of the church
‘Now I would like to see if there’s anyway to meet my birth mother as it would give me a lot of peace and hopefully her a lot of peace as well.’
Thanks to DNA testing, researchers eventually discovered that Andy is the eldest of eight children, who were all brought up by their married parents.
Andy’s birth parents were from Ireland and came from strict religious families. They were married when his mother was six months pregnant with Andy, before it started to show.
However, to have a baby a couple of months after you were married would’ve been a ‘social disgrace’, and so they travelled to England, where they had Andy in hospital before leaving him.
Andy went to the back of the church where it was believed he was abandoned, pictured, during the programme
Once Andy was given the news that his 82-year-old birth mother was alive and wanted to see him, he travelled to Ireland to meet her. He also visited his birth father’s grave.
His mother didn’t wish to be identified, so their reunion was filmed away from the cameras.
But following the meeting, Andy said: ‘When I came to the door we looked in each others eyes and had a little hug and then we’ve bene talking for the last three hours so it’s been great, really nice.
‘She said it was a terrible feeling what she had done and what she had to do but there was no way she could’ve come back here with a baby, she would’ve been banished and outcast, which I completely understand.
‘But they had thought about me all through their lives and quietly wondered what had happened and that’s really good to know. It was so nice to tell her I had a happy childhood.
‘I know why I am the way I am, I’ve met my mum and I know where I’m from which I didn’t know. I couldn’t have wished for anything better.’