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Nicky Campbell, 59, would like to say sorry to his birth mum Stella Lackey, for not having more contact with her while she was alive. The Long Lost Family presenter has admitted he wants to make things right with his biological mother, after failing to understand “the troubles” she had endured in her life as an unmarried Irish Protestant woman.
Not understanding the troubles she had
Opening up on who he would most like to say sorry to, Nicky shared: “My birth mother Stella [Lackey] for not allowing her into my life and not understanding the troubles she had in her own life,” he told OK! Magazine.
Nicky was adopted as a four year old by Sheila Campbell and her husband Frank Campbell.
Sheila, a World War Two radar operator who later became a social worker, was part of Nicky’s 2007 episode of BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are?.
She died back in 2019 at the age of 96 and Nicky paid tribute to her on social media.
He tweeted: “My mum Sheila died yesterday at 96. We made a BBC programme together about her service as a radar operator and she was immensely proud of her role on D Day.
“Her life’s work as a social worker helping others.
“The day she and Dad adopted me was the day I won the lottery,” he added.
The star also said his adoptive mother would “dote” on her grandchildren, who completely adored her.
He continued: “I am so lucky and proud to have had her as my mum and we will miss her more than we can ever express. She was my adoptive mum. She was my real mum.”
Nicky, who hosts the show Long Lost Family, which helps reunite loved ones, shared his own painful story in a recent episode.
The star recalled how he had tracked down his birth parents while in his 20s and discovered his birth mother Stella, who has sadly died, was an unmarried Dublin Protestant.
Stella had travelled from Ireland to Edinburgh to find a family for Nicky and to escape the shame being an unmarried mother carried at the time.
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She continued to send Christmas cards for the first five years of his life, but they only met in 1990 when Nicky was then 29.
The BBC star said it was a surreal moment and felt bad for his birth mother due to her “complicated, rather tragic life”.
Just 18 months before Nicky was born, Stella had given birth to his half-sister Esther and also given her up for adoption.
However, despite Stella wanting to reconnect with her son, the presenter admitted he felt “no emotional connection” to her.
In his new book One of the Family, Nicky wrote: “I couldn’t magic up feelings that weren’t there.
“Maybe it was self-protection – subconsciously, I just couldn’t let the hurt she’d already caused go deeper.”
Stella died in 2008 and Nicky flew over for the funeral in Dublin with Esther.
His adoptive dad Frank died from pancreatic cancer in 1996 and Nicky regretted that he didn’t tell him he had made contact with his birth mother.
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