A BENTHAM woman who was forced by her parents to give her newborn baby boy up for adoption, has found him 66 years later, happy and well and living in Australia.

Issy Carr, 86, of Lowther Hill Farm, said her tale was one of heartache which has turned into a miracle thanks to her niece Angela Bowskill and relative Janet Staveley.

Issy said she was only 20 and very naive when she found out she was pregnant, but her parents, Margaret and Roy Staveley forced her to give the baby away.

“I had him at Homesteads Nursing Home, in Melling, on June 13, 1955. I loved him straight away and called him George, but Nurse Eccles, a lovely nurse, said she had been told I was not to see or hold him. He was rushed away and I never saw him again.

“My mother told me I would soon forget about him but I never did and tried many times to find out where he had gone but failed. I never forgave my parents, whatever their reason was,” she said.

Issy worked hard and long hours for her parents at Greenside Farm, often dreaming of her son. She said she wondered if she would ever be happy and prayed for a 'father figure'; someone to look after her.

Soon after she met John Makinson Carr who had introduced himself to her in Bentham market.

"He was a lovely man 17-and-a-half years older than me and we married in 1962. He always said he would have taken on my son and raised him as his own. My mother said I would never get married if I had a child.

Issy and John had no children of their own but they had a happy marriage. Sadly John died in 1991.

Living alone having lost both her younger sisters, Issy's thoughts constantly turned to her son. She wondered if he was still alive and if he was happy.

It wasn’t until this year after an investigation stretching across the globe by her niece and her niece's cousin that 'George', now called Keith, was found.

“What’s more, I found out when he was adopted that he was brought up in Kirkby Lonsdale, right under my nose,” Issy added.

It was at a Christmas lunch at Janet and Andrew Staveley’s house in 2018 where Issy was a guest that it was suggested trying ancestry.com, by going down the DNA route. Angela Bowskill had already spent time searching through adoption certificates in Somerset House, London, to no avail.

“I did six spits into a test tube at £15 per spit,” mused Issy, thinking nothing would come of it.

But by a quirk of fate, a woman called Kym, who was 43 and lived in Perth, Australia and was looking for her father, had also done a test. Both samples had gone to a database reaching more than 700,000 locations across the globe.

“Janet came on the phone to me in January this year very excited saying we had a match.

“It turned out that my son had emigrated to Australia with his family aged 15, had met someone but split up. The DNA match was with his daughter, Kym, who he had never met, Issy said.”

Issy said Janet and Angela connected with Kym for a Zoom call and a second DNA test showed a 99.59 per cent match. Issy also learned she had two great grandsons.

Armed with information of her father’s birth name, date of birth and a possible surname of Garrett, or Garnett, Kym shared details on social media, along with details of a car he had in 1977.

There was a laborious search of library records to follow which revealed a surname of Garrahy and an address.

“Kym went along to the address with her husband, Jamie, knocked on the door and a man answered. She asked him his date of birth and when she asked him if he had had another name and he said ‘George’ she said to him: ‘I’m your daughter’.

“Apparently he nearly fell through the floor. And when they chatted a bit more and she told him how she had found him he said: ‘I’ve found my mum’,” said Issy.

That was back in May and a few days later a Zoom call was set up between Kym, Keith and Issy.

“On June 13 I rang him and sang happy birthday to him on the phone,” said Issy. “I also found out we all had a lot in common and a similar sense of humour. Keith is the spitting image of me and his daughter is beautiful. She even has a cat named Bonnie, as I do.”

Issy said she will never get over the trauma of being forced to give her son away and at the time was unable to challenge her parents’ decision.

“It felt very cruel but there was nothing I could do. It did make me a strong person and I did eventually find a good man in John, but there was a huge part of my life missing and it was the not knowing that was the hardest thing to bear. Not knowing where he was or what he was doing or if he thought of his birth mother,” she said.

Kym said she and her father were very excited to learn of their extended family in England.

"He said he was very happy that he has a nice family now and was very happy to have found his mum," said Kym.

She added: "I have been over the moon to find my grandmother, it was so unexpected. And the joy I feel knowing I have more family in England. I can’t wait to meet them all.

"I was so excited and nervous to meet my father but I had nothing to worry about. And helping my Grandma Issy find her son was the best feeling ever.

"My father and I can’t wait to travel to England when the Covid restrictions are over."