Friday 19 January 2018

'There’s a missing piece in the puzzle' – Terminally ill man searching for the Irish mother he never met

After being diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer, a UK writer is trying to find his long-lost mother

UK writer Colin Butts
UK writer Colin Butts
Colin Butts
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A terminally ill man who was adopted 57 years ago is looking to be reunited with his Irish birth mother.

Colin Butts (57) was given eighteen months to live in February this year after it was revealed his pancreatic cancer had reached a “catastrophic” stage.

While he admits he doesn’t have a bucket list due to having lived a fulfilled life, the Londoner says one of his remaining wishes is to meet the woman who brought him into this world.

The only information Colin knows about his mother is that her name is spelt slightly differently on the two documents he owns.

“I’ve never had any blood relatives. I was adopted straight away. It would be interesting to see whether she is still alive or whether I may have a sibling,” Colin told

“I remember when my mum told me I was adopted. She said ‘Of all the babies there, we chose you,'” he laughed.

Colin Butts
Colin Butts

“Unfortunately, my parents were quite old and died when I was only young. My mum passed away when I was 19 and my dad when I was 25. There’s a missing piece in the puzzle for me.”

He had never thought much about his birth parents, until one of his work colleagues, an Irishman, came up and said “Oh, there’s definitely some Irish in you!”

“It sounds silly, but I only started looking into it then after he said that. My pre-adopted name was Louis Michael.

 “I went to St Catherine’s House in London where all records are kept and found a woman by her name who got married near Kensington, where I grew up.

“I hired a detective and they found a woman in Cork. They told me the good news is that I have four siblings, the bad news is that my mother died, but after having a DNA test, it turns out it wasn’t the right person,” he said.

From speaking to mothers who also adopted their children, Colin says many of them seem to regret the fact they never met their kids.

Asked about what he would do if he met his mother, he says he would just show his gratitude.

"I would just say thank you. Had she not made the decision to give birth to me, then I wouldn’t have had the effect I’ve had on people’s lives and wouldn't have got to do the things I did. She obviously had her personal reasons for adopting me, I understand that."

A man who beams positivity, Colin says in some ways, being diagnosed with cancer may have been the best thing to happen to him.

"People say you should have a near death experience in your 40s or 50s as it makes you realise what's important. I have taken a lot of positives from it. You just hope that everything will be okay and it doesn't hurt too much when the time comes, but I've had a good life."

Colin currently has a movie called White Island out, starring Darren Day and Billy Zane.

It's based on his experiences from years of working in Ibiza as a holiday rep.

For Colin, it was a dream come true as he feared he wouldn't live to see the movie be released.

If you believe you may have any information on Colin's mother, email:

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