Great Britain

Man, 56, dumped in a box at a railway station as a baby finds he has 6 siblings he never knew about on Long Lost Family

 A 56-YEAR-OLD man who was dumped in a box at a railway station by his birth mother learns he has six full siblings and is reunited with three of them after many years apart.

Tonight's episode of the ITV show Long Lost Family: Born Without Trace tells the story of Simon Jeffery who still had a wet umbilical cord when he was found as a baby outside a railway tavern in Greenhithe, Kent in Greenhithe in October 1963.

The man, who was nicknamed Oliver Twist by staff at Gravesend Hospital, only learned of his beginnings by chance at the age of ten and now lives just five miles from where he was abandoned.

Speaking on the show, he said: "I was found in a wooden corned beef box with two tins of corned beef in a baby grow, and I was left outside the ladies toilets."

"There was a ladies dart match being played here at nigh so I would imagine it would be slightly packed so my birth mother knew someone would find me pretty soon. 

"She definitely wanted me to be found which means she did love me, but for some reason she had no choice."

Simon was taken in by Gravesend foster carers Cathleen and Earnest Jeffrey who went on to adopt him, and he still live in the same house now with his wife Jane, and son Jack - despite his parents having passed away.

Recalling the moment he began questioning his identity, he says: "Me and my friend were rummaging around and we found a tin. I opened it up and its newspaper cuttings in there. I pulled out the cuttings and the first one I saw was 'abandoned baby."' 

'Because the newspaper cutting didn't actually say my name I was thinking, "maybe it's not me" - but then he saw another newspaper cutting that confirmed the truth.

"It was a picture of the baby," he said, " I'd already seen this picture because I had the actual original copy in the house. That's when I realised this was me."

He continues: "It was a bit of a shock. It felt like just being discarded. I want to know where my mum was, what she found, if she's OK, and why she abandoned me."

After getting Simon's DNA test results, a social worker discovers that a member of the extended family had lived in the Dartford area - the area which Simon is from. 

Several members of the family were asked to take the test and two of the people show to be first cousins to Simon, and another proves to be Simon's full sibling - a brother.  

The results also showed that Simon's brother is one of six siblings - but sadly, both of his parents and two of his brothers have died, leaving two living sisters and two living brothers. 

They all grew up in Gravesend where two of his sisters still live - and after reaching out to the new found siblings three of them - Christine, Julie and Tony - agree to meet him, but admit they had no idea about their abandoned brother. 

Speaking on the show, Christine explains: "I was a premature baby. I was three months premature. Mum might have had postnatal depression."

Oh my god. I can't believe it. I wasn't expecting that. It's just unbelievable.

Simon Jeffery

Tony adds: "It wasn't spoke about it them days," to which Julie continues: "I just think she had six children and he came alone and she just couldn't cope with any more."

Christine also learned that she has always lived extremely close to Simon, saying:  "About two miles. We could've walked past him."

Christine adds: "He's our little baby brother and hopefully we'll be on happy family." 

Simon learned his parents married in 1951 and was shocked that his six siblings, who were born over a ten year period with him being the youngest, all lived close by.

Speaking to the show's host, Davina, He says: "That's completely different to what I built up in my head. Wow Davina. That's a hard one."

He was then shown a photograph of three of his siblings, and, becoming emotional he says: "Oh my word. Yes, I can see a likeness. That's my family! 

"And is that Tony? He looks so much like me. He really does! Our paths have probably crossed so many times. So many times."

Davina then shows Simon a photo of his birth parents, before revealing three of his siblings would love to meet him. 

Excited at the prospect of meeting his birth family, he says: "Oh my god. I can't believe it. I wasn't expecting that. It's just unbelievable."

And when the long-awaited reunion arrives, Simon learns that the siblings thought they were just a family of six - and they never knew of his existence.   

"Mum was very, very secretive," explains Christine. "She was quiet. She liked knitting, sewing and cooking. She was good at cooking."

Jane adds: "Mum and dad were close. I think dad knew about you. I think dad took you in the car and left you there because they must've decided that between them. She couldn't drive and she'd just given birth."

But in another shocking turn of events, Simon mentions that he worked in Dartford Co-Op in 1986, to which Julie relies "so did I, I was there."

An emotional Tony adds: "Straight away there was an instant connection. And they just look like me. It's amazing. It was totally mind-blowing. Myself and Julie working in the same shop. So our paths crossed without even knowing they crossed."

ITV's Long Lost Family: Born Without Trace airs tonight at 9pm. 

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