SINCE retiring three years ago, she has worked tirelessly to piece together her family tree.
But for adopted daughter Heather Ainsworth (64), there are still six months of her life’s jigsaw puzzle that are still missing pieces. And she is convinced that the answers must lie in Colne.
The retired district nurse, who lives in Longton, Preston, with her husband Bernard Ainsworth, found out that she was adopted when she was 14-years-old.
Having kept it to herself for many years, Heather recently felt it was time to delve deeper into her history. So far, the mum-of-two has managed to get in touch with her two half brothers, Alistair and Malcolm, track her mother’s journey from late 1948, and find out that her dad was a chief officer in the merchant navy called Ian.
Now, she is seeking the help of local residents to fill in the gaps from between November 1947 to October 1948, so she can find out more about her mum Etta Darvill, who was also known as Dorothy. She also knows her mum lived in Ivegate, Colne, at some point.
Heather, who has lived in Liverpool and Leyland with adopted parents and grandparents, said: “My mum must have come over to Colne because she must have read an advert for Fenners in the Belfast Telegraph. And because she was pregnant, maybe she didn’t want to tell her family — they were very staunch methodists apparently.
“I have found out so much. But we feel she must have told someone something when she was pregnant.
“I was around 14 when I found the papers, and I never discussed it with anybody.
“I felt it was quite shameful, because I hadn’t been told.”
One fact that has been unearthed in Heather’s digging is that her mum married a John Coxall, who was always known as Jack, in 1952. They met on a course they were sent on from Fenners, and moved to Aberdeen Street, in Hull.
She also knows her adoption was arranged by Lancashire and Cheshire Adoption Society.
While Heather has found out that she was born at Colne’s Christiana Hartley Maternity Hospital, and was called Christine Darvill upon birth, she does not know information including when her mum met John, whether she moved to Hull with them, or the identity of her father.
Her mum, who was around 26 when she lived in Colne, died when Heather was 39.
Anybody who can help Heather fill in the missing months is urged to ring her on 01772 613612 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.