Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Can you help David?

The Rainbow Baby

David Stevenson's mother is missing

On Thursday 15 December 1960, at approximately 6pm, a newly born baby was discovered lying in the hall on the second floor of a block of flats in Golders Green, London, UK.

He had been abandoned.

He was unharmed and dressed in a nappy and a vest and wrapped in two multi-coloured blankets, one with a picture of a teddy bear embroidered on it.

Despite extensive police enquiries and media exposure at the time, neither parent of the three-hour-old baby boy ever came forward.

Some 50 years later, we still hope that someone can help us find living relatives of the infant the press nicknamed

'The Rainbow Baby'.

The baby was given the name David by the WPC that took care of him that day. David is now a 50-year-old man with three teenage sons of his own. He would still dearly love to know who his parents were.

Can you help?

If you can provide any information that may lead us to find out more about David's parents he would love to hear from you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

FRESH APPEAL: Ralph Webber, Jean Racke

Did you or someone you know live in West Heath Court in 1960?

West Heath Court is a rather grand block of flats in North End Road, Golders Green, London, just a little up the hill and across from Golders Green tube station.

It was here, at around 5pm, after the sun had gone down at the end of a bright, sunny but cold December day, that baby David was found, lying on a blanket on the second floor of the building. The date was Thursday 15 December 1960.

In 1960, the flats were mostly occupied by Jewish couples, many of who had immigrated to London from Germany or Austria.

Thanks to a detailed police report that was filed at the time, and which David was fortunate enough to find with his adoption records, we now know the name of the person who discovered David.

This man's name was Ralph Webber.

In 1960, Ralph Webber (born Raphael Weber) was aged 47. He lived with his with Jean Webber (then aged 45). Jean's first name was Gertrude (she was born Gertrude Jean Racke), but she was known as Jean to her family and friends.

We know that both Ralph and Jean were Jewish and that they lived at 35 West Heath Court from at least 1956 until around 1970, when they moved to 85 High Mount, Station Road, Hendon (where they lived until they died).

During their working lives, Ralph had worked in the printing industry and Jean had been a saleslady.

Sadly, Ralph passed away in 1994, aged 83 and Jean died two years later in 1996, aged 83. To our knowledge they did not have any children.

Ralph had a sister called Eve Webber and Jean was one of around nine children! Jean's mother's name was Sarah Racke. Jean had three brothers, Albert Lazarus Racke ('Alf'), Richard Isaac Racke and Joseph Racke ('Joe') and five sisters, Milly Racke, Naomi Racke, Rosa Racke, Hilda Racke and Diana Racke. Jean had many nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews, many of whom must be alive today.

David would very dearly like to hear from any relatives or friends of Ralph and Jean.

Perhaps you knew Jean or Ralph when they lived at West Heath Court (approx. 1954-1970) or during the 25+ years that they live at High Mount in Hendon). It might be that Ralph or Jean told you about the day when Ralph found a baby in the hall where he lived. It was Ralph's quick-wittedness in calling the police that ensured that David was taken to a place of safety that day and eventually adopted. David may have been on the floor for some time and had very cold hands and feet when he was found, and physical signs suggest he was not born in a hospital and therefore had probably not been seen by a doctor of midwife prior to being found. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that Ralph Webber saved David's life.

If you knew Ralph or Jean Webber or anyone who lived in West Heath Court in December 1960, David would be so grateful if you would get in touch with him at david@therainbowbaby.com.

Monday, February 15, 2010

BBC1 Inside Out

Inside Out

Monday 15 February 2010
7:30pm, BBC1 (London region only)
'Inside Out'

UPDATE: November 2010
Please note that David is no longer searching for information about Richard Hamer. We are no longer of the opinion that Richard Hamer was linked to David in any way. David would like to thank everyone who helped him to eliminated Richard Hamer from his search.

Does David's story resonate with you?
Do you have friends or relatives who lived in North End Road, Golders Green, London in 1960?
Do they remember when David was found in West Heath Court?

His story was publicised on the front pages of the Daily Mail and the Hendon Times at the time.

We are desperate to hear from anyone who can remember David's story from when it first came to light in December 1960. All residents of the block where David was left have since passed away, but we hope that they may have said something to a living friend or relative that will give David some additional clues about why he was left in West Heath Court, exactly when and by whom.

If you have any information, no matter how trivial or unimportant you may think it is, David would love to hear from you. Please email him at david@therainbowbaby.com.

David would like to give special thanks to the current residents of West Heath Court for their patience and support.

David would also like to stress that the main purpose of his search is to find out more about why he was left in West Heath Court in particular. David was raised by a loving, supportive family who fully support his search for information about his birth parents.

David is fascinated to know why he was left on the second floor of a locked block of flats with apparently no witness to him being put there. If you know anything at all, please drop David a line at david@therainbowbaby.com.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

West Heath Court TV appeal

David on ITV

David returned to West Heath Court again today, this time accompanied by a film crew from ITV London Tonight.

Watch David's appeal from West Heath Court on London Tonight
(link disabled while ITV site is redesigned - back soon)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Returning to West Heath Court

David at the spot where he was found
David recently returned to the spot where he was found.

David was discovered outside a second floor flat in West Heath Court, North End Road, Golders Green, London NW11 7RG in the London Borough of Barnet at around 5pm on Thursday 15 December 1960. The telephone exchange at that time was Meadway.

David recently returned to West Heath Court and stood on the spot where he was found 50 years ago.

Did you live in West Heath Court in 1960?

Did you have a friend or relative who lived in West Heath Court in 1960?

Did you or a friend or relative work in West Heath Court in 1960, for example as a gardener, nanny, cleaner or au pair?

David would urgently like to hear from you. Please contact him at david@therainbowbaby.com.

David would also like to thank the current residents of West Heath Court who have been extremely patient and gracious towards him, a stranger from their past. To them and all the people of Golders Green David says thanks for your wit and wisdom. With your help, David is confident he will find the answers he is looking for.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Casting the net wide

David on BBC Radio Ulster

David's parents could be anywhere...

David is keen to speak with media outlets throughout the UK (and around the world) so that he can let his mother know that he is searching for her. If you can help David to reach more people with his story, please contact him at david@therainbowbaby.com.

David welcomes all correspondence from the public. He reads every email he receives and if you write to him you will receive a reply.

David with Matthew Bannister

David appeared on 'Outlook' on the BBC World Service on Tuesday 10 February 2009.

David was interviewed by veteran broadcaster Matthew Bannister.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Daily Mail 2009

Daily Mail 5 Feb 2009
48 years later...

In February 2009, freelance journalist and author Hilary Freeman interviewed David to find out if he had ever had any success in tracing his birth parents.

This new article focussed on David's on-going search for his birth family, on how he now feels about them and what it would mean to him to have contact with them after all these years.

The article was published in the Daily Mail on Thursday 5 February 2009 under the headline:

'So who is my mother? Dumped in a stairwell at just four days old, David's poignant story was front page news in the [Daily] Mail. For 48 years, he's known nothing about the mother who abandoned him. Now he's trying to solve this haunting mystery... and he needs YOUR help.'

If you missed the article in the paper you can read it online on the Daily Mail website.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Daily Mail 1960

Daily Mail 21 Dec 1960

Front page news...

A few days after David was found, a story about him was published in the Daily Mail, a national newspaper in the UK. Even though the paper was read by millions of people and the story about David was on the front page, no-one ever came forward to claim him as their own.

David was completely unaware that the Daily Mail had tried to help him until some 30 years later. The British law that controls adopted children's access to records about themselves changed and David requested his adoption records from the local council in the hope that they might reveal some clue to his identity.

To his amazement, two vital documents were tucked inside the folder of social workers' notes. One of these was the police report filed by the WPC who rescued David. The other was this newspaper cutting. It wasn't until David paid a visit to the Newspaper Library in Colindale, London that he discovered that the cutting was from the Daily Mail and had been published as a front page story on Wednesday 21 December 1960.

The article read:

The Rainbow Baby left in hall
Do you know the Rainbow Baby? His picture was issued by Scotland Yard last night. The four-day-old boy was abandoned in a second-floor hallway at West Heath Court, North End Road, Golders Green last Thursday. He was dressed in a white candlewick shawl, lined with green, with a yellow bear embroidered on it, and a pink cardigan with a blue Fair Isle pattern. Over him had been laid a blue flannelette blanket decorated with a pink and black lamb.

Daily Mail 21 Dec 1960

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Thank you

David would like to thank the following journalists, broadcasters, producers, media outlets and members of the public for helping him with his search.

Hilary Freeman & the Daily Mail; Mel Poluck & the Jewish Chronicle; Kevin Bradford and the Hendon & Finchley Times; Lucy Purdy and the Barnet Press; James Brindle, Jeremy Sallis and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire; Siobhann Tighe, Matthew Bannister & BBC World; Anne Mallon, John Toal & BBC Radio Ulster; Stephen Rhodes & BBC Radio Three Counties; James Brindle, Frances Finn & BBC Radio Nottingham; Jill Collins, Stephen Nolan & BBC Radio 5 Live; Ronnie Dungan & Toy News; Ann Taylor & Barnet Local Studies; Tegwen & Norman Curl; Liron & Jonathan Cohen, Suzy Goldberg, Kitty Ruderman, Theresa Musgrove and everyone at West Heath Court.

He would also like to thank his adoptive family for their love and support: his mum Margaret, his dad Stuart, his brother Mark, his sisters Beryl and Karen and his neice Jamie.

Finally, he would like to give special thanks to Hilary Freeman, the freelance journalist who helped him tell his story through the pages of the Daily Mail in 2009, and Tegwen Curl, the woman police officer who rescued him on 15 December 1960, whose and compassion for the little baby left in the hall meant that David was adopted by a loving family and to whom he would like to express his love and gratitude.