The mystery of Britain’s most famous abandoned baby has been solved after 80 years. Anthea Ring, who was abandoned under a blackberry bush as a baby, has discovered the identity of her biological father from saliva on a postage stamp.

As a baby, Mrs Ring was discovered in August 1937 by a family who heard her crying on the South Downs in Sussex, southern England. The 9-month-old baby was wearing a pink dress, her hands were tied and she was covered in scratches and insect bites. Now aged 81, Mrs Ring only learned she was the infamous ‘Blackberry Baby’ when she was 25 years old; she has since spent the subsequent decades searching for her parents.

In 2012, Mrs Ring took a DNA test, which revealed her ethnicity was 92% Irish and matched her with some distant cousins in the USA and Ireland. Subsequent DNA tests from her extended family uncovered her deceased mother’s identity and roots in County Mayo. Geneticists were then able to narrow down her father to one of six County Galway brothers. It was only by DNA testing a number of 30-year-old letters from one brother, Patrick, that the exact sibling was pinpointed. When tested, the saliva on a stamp was forensically matched to Mrs Ring’s DNA. Patrick Coyne was thus confirmed as the biological father.

Although Patrick Coyne passed away many years ago, his long-lost daughter is now in contact with his wider family in Galway.

“I’m delighted to have found the final piece in the puzzle of my family history”, Mrs Ring said. “Who would have thought that stamps from decades old letters were the key to unlocking my story? I feel like I have some closure.”

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