‘Long Lost Family: Born Without Trace’: Siblings Meet Over 50 Years After Being Abandoned As Babies

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‘Long Lost Family: Born Without Trace’: Siblings Meet Over 50 Years After Being Abandoned As Babies

In an almost unbelievable, and absolutely heartbreaking story, Monday's Long Lost Family: Born Without Trace told us of David McBride and Helen Ward - siblings who were both abandoned as babies, six years apart.

David was found in a car near a police station in Belfast, with his little feet hanging out of a tartan bag.

Meanwhile, Helen was found by a truck driver in a telephone box in Dundalk, in a similar bag, and with a bottle by her side that was still warm.

Both foundlings had been taken care of in the weeks prior to being abandoned.

The siblings' story took 51 years to solve (Credit: ITV)
The siblings' story took 51 years to solve (Credit: ITV)

The pair both went on to be adopted, and didn't obtain any answers about their pasts until 51 years later, when they discovered each other with the help of the team at Long Lost Family.

The show, hosted by Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell, used DNA technology and the very best detective work around to discover the pair's link.

And while their lives had been strikingly different - David was a Protestant on the north of the Irish border while Helen was a Catholic on the south of the border - the instant connection when they met was enough to bring a tear to anyone's eyes.


"It's absolutely wonderful. She's more than I expected. Really special," a visibly emotional David said after meeting his sister on the border or northern and southern Ireland. "There are a lot of similarities between the two of us."

While Helen added: "It's just unbelievable. When you sit there and look at your brother. It's a very strange and exciting feeling. After 51 years it's a miracle."

Watch the reunion for yourself:


But the discoveries didn't stop there, as they then went on to learn their birth parents' devastating back story.

After years of unanswered questions, the team discovered that David and Helen's dad was a married man who had a secret affair with their mother over many years.

In fact, before their dad died in 1993 the pair were actually seen together in Dublin, proving their affair lasted around 40 years and there was a real, enduring love there.

Their dad was a Protestant with 14 children and a wife, but their mum was 17 years younger, and a Catholic, at a time when there couldn't have been a bigger divide and conflict between the two branches of Christianity.


Their mother never married or had any more children.

The pair finally learn about their parents (Credit: ITV)
The pair finally learn about their parents (Credit: ITV)

Unfortunately, neither parent is alive any more, but they also learnt that they both lived into their old age, with their dad making it to 82, while their mother passed away at 90.

The two foundlings were shocked to discover their mum gave birth to them at 34 and 41, after always having assumed she was young when she had them, and that's why she couldn't cope.


Taking to social media after seeing the pair meet, and learning about their parents' past, one viewer wrote: "That story was absolutely extraordinary and utterly heartbreaking. So happy David & Helen found each other. Their shared empathy for the mother they never knew and her tragic story was v moving. #BornWithoutTrace #LongLostFamily".

"What an absolutely sensational and mind blowing episode of #LongLostFamily," another said.

A third penned: "Did anyone else gasp out loud when they found out David and Helen were full siblings?! I choked on my dinner!! #BornWithoutTrace #LongLostFamily".

Both foundlings had struggled to find the truth about their family for many years before appearing on the show.

David wasn't able to find a birth certificate and he doesn't even know his own birthday - he only had a piece of adoption paperwork which estimated his birthday to be 6th January 1962.

All he knew was he was around two weeks old when he was discovered.

"I'm sad that it happened. I'm sad for myself that it happened in the manner that it happened," he said in the doc.

"But I'm also sad for my mother. Because it must have been heartbreaking for her".

David didn't even know his own birthday (Credit: ITV)
David didn't even know his own birthday (Credit: ITV)

On the other side of the Irish border, Helen had been on her own mission for the truth.

She'd entered Drogheda adoption centre, hoping to find her real birth parents, but it was only then she was informed there was no trace of them.

"I had gone in with such hope because it meant so much to be to find my birth mother. It broke my heart that day I left. Absolutely broke my heart," she said.

Helen put out a radio plea on her 44th birthday, and miraculously, she ended up getting in touch with the truck driver who found her all those years ago.

Helen was reunited with the truck driver years later (Credit: Unsplash)
Helen was reunited with the truck driver years later (Credit: Unsplash)

He helped her to put the pieces together, revealing that he'd seen a woman run out of the telephone box and into a black car just before he approached, and adding that the bottle was still warm - meaning she'd waited with her to ensure she was found before fleeing.

But it was only the show that managed to bring the siblings together, and complete the puzzle.

What a remarkable story! We're so happy these two found each other.

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: TV News, TV Entertainment

Joanna Freedman
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