A RETIRED Ringwood mother says she is “overwhelmed” after meeting her son for the first time since giving him up for adoption as a newborn, nearly 42 years ago.
Ann Munro, 63, was heartbroken to give her son Mark Anthony away in 1972, but felt she had to after being abandoned by the baby’s father and disowned by her own father.
Soon after she met Geoff, now 62, and quickly fell pregnant again.
Tragically, a year to the day after having Mark she gave birth to a stillborn boy, who they had affectionately dubbed Clint Zachary throughout the eight-and-a-half-month pregnancy.
She had been sedated, not knowing her son had died, and by the time she woke a midwife had taken Clint away.
It was also the day she received a picture of Mark from the authorities who, as they had promised, had sent her a photo exactly a year on.
Grief-stricken and angry, she tore the picture up. But then spent the next four decades regretting it, and trying to find Mark.
Mark was adopted by the Hayter family and renamed Colin.
They lived only a short distance away on the Isle of Wight, where Mrs Munro visited several times, unaware that her son lived there.
She tried desperately to try and find him over the years, and later her daughter Donna, 38, and son Stuart, 34, joined in the search.
She said: “I kept expecting him to try and find me; when he would have been 18 I really hoped he would come, but he didn’t.
“Then when he was 21 the same, but he never came.
“We tried everything we could to find him, and just got nowhere.”
Last year Donna contacted the ITV show Long Lost Family, which tracks down relatives lost through adoption and family break-ups and reunites them with the aid of presenters Davina McColl and Nicky Campbell, who was himself adopted.
The team managed to find Colin, and Mrs Munro was ecstatic to learn she was now grandmother to three boys - Bayley, 16, Keaton, 14, and Harris, one.
She said: “I had one grandchild, Bethany Williamson, who is 15 and is a wonderful singer. Suddenly I had four - and they are such lovely boys - I am so, so lucky.”
Mrs Munro, who also sings with the Rock Choir, met Colin in December.
Their meeting was televised on Monday night, but they have been speaking daily and meeting regularly ever since.
Mrs Munro said: “I was trying to stay strong for our meeting and just cried and cried.
“Then when we saw the programme at a private screening in London last month I cried again.
“On Monday I was on the Lorraine programme and I thought this time, I’ll be composed. But within two minutes I was in bits.
“Then that evening we all sat down and watched it again and I thought this time I wouldn’t cry but I did. It’s just so emotional.”
Viewers saw Mrs Munro’s anxiety over how to tell Colin, who spent 12 years as a serviceman before settling back home, she had never wanted to give him up and how she hoped she had done the right thing.
But he told her he had had a wonderful childhood and had been very happy.
Mrs Munro said: “I have been overwhelmed with the response from people after the show went out - it was 3am before I gave up responding to all the messages and went to bed.
“I’m so lucky ITV chose me. It’s amazing - I keep pinching myself.
“I couldn’t have wished for a happier ending.”