A BASINGSTOKE mother who discovered the son she had put up for adoption had fallen into a troubled life of homelessness and alcohol addiction when she was reunited with him five decades later, has shared their touching story. 

Basingstoke Gazette: Emotional reunionEmotional reunion
Retired nurse Hazel Stubbs Races, 80, took part in ITV’s Long Lost Family three years ago, looking for the baby she was forced to give up when she fell pregnant at the age of 22, in 1961.

But when the two were reunited in 2015, they felt their story was too personal to be shown. Ms Stubbs Races had tragically found her son Kenneth was sleeping rough in Blackpool, suffering from a drink problem and suspected mental health issues. 

He was living in an abandoned pub, having lost all hope for his future.  Speaking on the show three years later, which aired on Monday night, Ms Stubbs Races said: “There was never a day he was not in my thoughts, I wanted to know he was okay.” 

Sharing how their story started, Ms Stubbs Races told how she met a young naval officer in 1960 at a weekend dance at the local army camp, calling the sailor “devastatingly charming”, and admitting that she “couldn’t believe he had fallen for her’”.

A few months into their romance she discovered she was pregnant, recalling: “I thought he should be the first to know [about the pregnancy], but he didn’t want anything to do with it.”

The former nurse claimed the soldier condemned her, threatening to get his friends to “swear in court that they had all had sex with her”.  Without the support of him or her family, Ms Stubbs Races decided to hand in her notice in Alton, Hampshire, and start a new life in London. 

She went to stay with a lady in London, who offered her shelter until she gave birth, and organised the private adoption of Kenneth, who was born on February 19, 1961. 

In the years that followed, Ms Stubbs Races went onto marry and welcome two children. But she could never shake Kenneth from her mind and spent thirty years trying to search for him with many unsuccessful attempts.  Appearing on the ITV show in 2015, he was finally traced to Blackpool, but sadly his life had turned out nothing like his mother had hoped. 

Kenneth had been left homeless, he had a severe drink problem and had been diagnosed with suspected paranoid schizophrenia. In the programme, Ms Stubbs Races revealed how she helped Kenneth, now 58, rebuild his life.

The duo now live together in the town where Kenneth works full-time and overcame his drinking problem. Kenneth told the show: “I have a job now. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink. I feel very lucky. She rescued me just in time. She love me and I love them.” 

Ms Stubbs Races added: “I don’t think we could be apart now.” The pair now live together in the town with Ms Stubbs Race’s daughter and her wife.