‘Long Lost Family’ viewers tearfully watched the heartbreaking story of a woman forced to abandon FOUR children over 22 years
6 mins read

‘Long Lost Family’ viewers tearfully watched the heartbreaking story of a woman forced to abandon FOUR children over 22 years

VIEWERS of Long Lost Family admitted they were reduced to tears as they watched one of the show’s most heartbreaking storylines.

The episode followed the cases of two foundlings during the special week of Born Without a Trace.

Ariel Bruce from Long Lost Family told a shocking story
Martina was amazed when she learned the truth about her motherSource: ITV
Martine Evenden with her cousin Tom, also a foundlingSource: ITV

A foundling is a child abandoned at birth with no clear trace or connection to a group of biological parents.

The episode of the ITV show, hosted by Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell, had plenty of twists and turns from the get-go.

It started with the story of Thomas Yeo, who revealed how he was abandoned as a child and had no idea about his biological mother and father.

He uploaded the hidden DNA to a database to see if he could find matching relatives.

The show’s genealogy expert Ariel Bruce then revealed that they had found a full cousin in Ireland.

In a shocking turn of events, Thomas’ cousin, Martina, was also a foundling abandoned by St. Patrick’s Church. Joseph in Dublin

This meant that she was also looking for answers about her family and was unable to help Thomas in his search.

While Martina and Thomas did meet, the two continued their search separately for further answers.

Since the show focused on Martin Evenden, Ariel was able to learn a little more about her family after extensive expert research.

However, what she discovered was completely heartbreaking and left many viewers in tears.

My mother abandoned me at a train station when I was a child, and it took me 50 years to find a relative. I was shocked to find out that she was a foundling too

She told the show’s host Davina how Martina’s biological mother was identified as a woman named Margaret, known as Peggy.

Peggy was actually the mother of four children, and Martina was also the last child she gave birth to.

Shockingly, Peggy was forced to give up all four of her children.

The shame of being an unmarried woman in religious Ireland in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s meant that she would be ostracized, and Peggy was seen, according to Ariel, as a “social disgrace”.

Davina was shocked when she found out about Peggy
Martina had a hard time accepting the news about her biological mother in emotionally charged scenes

Peggy gave birth for the first time at the age of 19, and her parents sent her to the famed Sean Ross Abbey.

Sean Ross Abbey was a church that housed a mother and baby unit between the 1930s and 1970s.

Since the closure of the unit, a number of shocking truths have come to light about the facility, leading to the mistreatment of many unmarried mothers and children.

It is believed that almost 1,100 “illegitimate children” died during their time at Sean Ross.

It was one of the most shocking family searches in the history of the Long Lost FamilySource: ITV

Some children died of malnutrition, while others died of heart failure after choking on oatmeal.

Luckily for Peggy, her parents paid her to leave Sean Ross and she returned home with her baby.

Her parents then decided to raise the child and sent Peggy away.

At the age of 25, Peggy gave birth for the second time in the mother and baby unit, after which she had to give the baby up for adoption.

10 years later the same thing happened again before Peggy gave birth to Martina at the age of 41.

Three newborns abandoned by the same parents

Babies are rarely abandoned in the UK, but last week it was revealed that a newborn found in a shopping bag had two siblings abandoned in similar circumstances.

‘Little Elsa’, named after the character from the film ‘Frozen’, was found in freezing temperatures in Newham, east London, in January.

She was believed to be less than an hour old when a dog walker discovered her wrapped in a towel in a reusable shopping bag, with her umbilical cord still attached.

The Metropolitan Police suspect that Elsa was born following a “hidden pregnancy”, in which the woman did not tell health workers that she was expecting a baby.

DNA tests showed that Elsa has two siblings – a brother and a sister, who were abandoned in 2017 and 2019, respectively, a few kilometers from where she was found.

The other children, Harry and Roman, were found wrapped in blankets. They were both adopted.

The parents of the three children are still unknown

Last week at the Family Court in East London, Judge Carol Atkinson ruled that a biological relationship between “Elsa” and her other two children could be claimed.

This was deemed to be in the “great public interest” as children are rarely abandoned in modern Britain.

The three are one of five cases of babies abandoned at birth in the last four years in England and Wales.

In 2020, a baby was discovered in Hackney, East London, and in 2021, a baby was discovered in Birmingham. Both their mothers were found a few months later.

Declining to go home, Peggy instead abandoned Martina when she was only a few days old.

Reacting with shock and sadness to the traumatic story, one fan wrote online: “Oh my gosh, Martina’s story #longlostfamily.”

Another added: “Damn it wasn’t bits of kids leaving their kids. At the age of 41 and 35. It’s extremely sad that even at that age they felt they had no alternative to abandonment. #Longlostfamily.”

A third said: “I needed to cry today. It does this every time:
#LongLostFamily #BornWithoutATrace #Foundlings.”

Someone else went on to write, “I just spent the entire hour in tears. It’s both joy and sadness. I’m so relieved when they get answers to #longlostfamily.”

Before a fifth wrote: “That poor woman. She survived Sean Ross Abbey only to go through it all again, twice more. Horrible. A loving church – yes, that’s right.”

Long Lost Family Born Without Trace airs on ITV1 and ITVX on consecutive nights from June 10 at 9pm

Martina in a childhood photo when she was abandoned by the church as a childSource: ITV