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Long lost family: How two foundlings, one left in Belfast, the other in Dundalk, discovered they were siblings

For decades David McBride, from Northern Ireland, and Helen Ward, from the Republic, had yearned to know the truth about their birth parents, but all investigations proved futile. Next week, an ITV Long Lost Family Special will tell how they finally met

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Reunited brother and sister David McBride and Helen Ward

Reunited brother and sister David McBride and Helen Ward

Reunited brother and sister David McBride and Helen Ward

Reunited brother and sister David McBride and Helen Ward

David on a swing as a young boy

David on a swing as a young boy

Helen Ward as a young girl

Helen Ward as a young girl

Foundling David McBride at the spot just outside Belfast where in 1962 his mother abandoned him as a baby

Foundling David McBride at the spot just outside Belfast where in 1962 his mother abandoned him as a baby

The story reported at the time

The story reported at the time

Helen Ward meets lorry driver Donal Vaughan at the spot where he found her as a baby 44 years ago

Helen Ward meets lorry driver Donal Vaughan at the spot where he found her as a baby 44 years ago

Helen Ward as a young girl with her adoptive mother

Helen Ward as a young girl with her adoptive mother

Helen’s birth certificate stating ‘child found exposed’

Helen’s birth certificate stating ‘child found exposed’

Reunited brother and sister David McBride and Helen Ward

If a Hollywood scriptwriter had penned a story about two foundlings, found as babies six years apart on either side of the Irish border, who after lifelong searches discover they are actually brother and sister, his movie proposal would doubtless have been rejected as simply too far-fetched.

But real life can indeed be stranger than fiction — for after being abandoned as days-old infants back in the Sixties, Northern Ireland man David McBride and Helen Ward, from the Republic, have found out they are indeed siblings.

It’s an extraordinary story of chance, serendipity and — ultimately — scientific advances in DNA that allowed the mystery of their respective backgrounds to be slowly unravelled.

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Reunited brother and sister David McBride and Helen Ward

Reunited brother and sister David McBride and Helen Ward

Reunited brother and sister David McBride and Helen Ward