Help find Lesley’s birth parents - who gave her up for adoption via an ad in the Romford Recorder

Lesley Phillips with her granddaughter Amelia

Lesley Phillips with her granddaughter Amelia - Credit: Archant

Fifty years ago, a young woman placed a once-in-a-lifetime advert in the Romford Recorder – she wanted someone to adopt her baby daughter.

That’s the only thing Lesley Phillips knows about her birth mother. Now she’d like to find out more.

Born Karen Tracey Howell in Oldchurch Hospital in March 1963, garage owner Lesley – now of Gosfield – was taken in by an Upminster couple when she was just a few months old.

They gave her a new name: Lesley Howe.

Half a century on, Lesley has two children of her own, as well as a granddaughter – Amelia.

“I could never imagine giving up my children,” she told the Recorder, “so if my birth mother is anything like me there must have been a very good reason to do it.

“I’m curious as to why it happened.”

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Her original surname, Howell, may have been her birth mother’s. Lesley doesn’t know the woman’s first name, or anything about her biological father.

In fact, Lesley only found out the truth about her adoption at the age of 16.

“I’m very close to my adoptive mum,” she said, “so the birth mother would never take her place.

“But I’ve got no blood relatives except my children and granddaughter. I could have brothers or sisters – who knows?”

The first few months of Lesley’s life are a bit of a mystery – the adoption took place in November, 1963, and was registered two months later.

It’s thought the advert first appeared in the paper while Lesley’s mother was still pregnant. Her adoptive parents met the family, but never saw the woman herself, and were never told her name.

“I just feel there’s a part of me missing,” said Lesley, “and that I need to know where I come from.

“It’s just curiosity. I’ve been thinking about it for several years, but not been brave enough to do anything about it. I’d just like to know my roots.”

Can you help Lesley trace her birth parents? If so, please contact the news desk on 020 8477 3903 and we can put you in touch. Alternatively, e-mail