Coincidences in Devon man's search for birth mother

Steve Darling with his adoptive mother Penny Darling (left) and his natural mother Pamela Johnson (right)
Image caption Steve Darling, with his adoptive mother Penny Darling (left) and his natural mother Pamela Johnson, described the reunion as "marvellous"

A man who decided to trace his birth mother found she was living just six miles (10km) away.

Steve Darling, from Devon, discovered his mother Pam Johnson was living in nearby Kingsteignton.

She had given Mr Darling up for adoption when he was three months old.

Mr Darling, a Torbay councillor and a researcher for the Lib Dem MP Adrian Sanders, described the reunion as "marvellous".

Image caption Mr Darling was put up for adoption when he was three months old

Mrs Johnson had put Mr Darling up for adoption in 1969 when she was 17 years old.

She said: "In the sixties, if you were an unmarried mother, you didn't really bring a child up on your own.

"Although his dad and I were together, I felt I was really young to be a mum, and I didn't know that I could provide for him properly."

Mr Darling's adoptive mum, Penny Darling, said: "He was absolutely sobbing when we went to pick him up.

"We went outside and got him in the car and he stopped crying. He was the most amazing baby from then on."

'Absolutely flabbergasted'

At the time, both families were living in the Midlands but the Darlings moved down to Torquay.

About 30 years later, Mrs Johnson moved down to Devon to be near one of her daughters.

Mr Darling said: "I was absolutely flabbergasted. Not only that she was living so near, but also by the number of coincidences.

"It turned out that Pam had taught at Coombe Pafford School, which is in my council ward.

"I also discovered my half-sister had been living in Upton Road in Torquay - a road I walk along every day to get to to work."

Mrs Johnson admitted she was amazed when Mr Darling made contact with her after tracing her on the internet.

Mr Darling said: "It's really great - they are both my mums.

"One of them has cared for me throughout my life. The other is just an excellent person to have in my life now, so it's really good."

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