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80-year mystery of blackberry bush baby is solved using DNA

A woman who was abandoned in a blackberry bush as a baby has finally discovered the identity of her father after DNA tests were carried out on a stamp.

Anthea Ring, now 81, was discovered by a family who heard her crying on the South Downs in Sussex on August 26, 1937. She was wearing a pink dress, her hands were tied and she was covered in scratches and insect bites. She was just six-months-old.

She was taken to hospital but despite a nationwide search for her parents, they didn’t come forward and after six months she was adopted by a family in Surrey.

Anthea Ring, now 81, was abandoned in a blackberry bush as a baby. She has finally discovered the identity of her father after DNA tests were carried out on the back of a stamp

She was discovered by a family who heard her crying on the South Downs in Sussex in 1937. She was wearing a pink dress, her hands were tied and she was covered in scratches and insect bites. She was just six-months-old

She was discovered by a family who heard her crying on the South Downs in Sussex in 1937. She was wearing a pink dress, her hands were tied and she was covered in scratches and insect bites. She was just six-months-old

She only learned she was the blackberry baby when she was 25 and she has spent the last 35 years searching for her birth parents.  

Six years ago DNA testing narrowed the search down to her father being one of six brothers from the Coyne family in County Galway, Ireland.

Scientists could not say who it was until 30-year-old letters from one brother, Patrick, were found and saliva on a stamp confirmed he was her father.

The discovery provides closure for Mrs Ring, who discovered her mother’s identity and Irish ethnicity in 2016, thanks to family history detective and genetic genealogist, Julia Bell. 

She was taken to hospital but despite a nationwide search for her parents, they didn’t come forward. After six months she was adopted by a family in Surrey (Pictured: appeals at the time)

Although Patrick has died she is now in contact with his wider family. 

Mrs Ring, a married grandmother who now lives in Bradford-upon-Avon, said: ‘I’m delighted to have found the final piece in the puzzle of my family history. 

‘Who would have thought that stamps from decades old letters were the key to unlocking my story?

‘I can now finally tell my children and grandchildren about their roots and where they came from’. 

‘I feel like I have some closure. It’s wonderful. Being able to track down my family has been incredible.’ 

‘Stamps and other materials containing DNA such as hair from a brush, can often provide vital evidence in DNA testing, and this has proved critical in Anthea’s very personal, and long-running, case to learn her roots,’ says David Nicholson, Founder and Managing Director at Living DNA.

Mrs Ring, pictured as a child, said: ‘I’m delighted to have found the final piece in the puzzle of my family history’



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk