Published On: Sun, Mar 11th, 2018

Mindy Hammond reveals the long road to meeting her birth mother | Life | Life & Style

Mindy and mumCLIVE SHALICE

Mindy was finally able to learn about her birth from her biological mother Pat

“It was very hard but I didn’t have a choice, as I was just 19 when Alana was born,” Pat explains.

“The father was off the scene before I even knew I was pregnant and when I asked his family for help and support I just got a door slammed in my face. So there was never any question about keeping the baby. I think if it had been left to my father he may have supported me more, but my mother was a very strict Irishwoman, so I was sent off to a mother and baby home in Cheltenham. 

“People talk about how harsh mother and baby homes were, but unless you were in one you couldn’t imagine what they were like. This was a Church of England home and the regime was very hard. You were there for about three months altogether – six to eight weeks before the baby was born and six weeks after – and you did everything for that baby.

“Giving her up for adoption was like cutting myself open and tearing out a piece of my heart. It’s something you can never, ever get over and I vividly remember the day we had
to say goodbye. I bathed her as usual in the morning and got her into her best clothes and made sure everything was clean and tidy for her new parents. Then I just held her and held her and said, ‘I’ll always love you.’

“I was meant to have left the mother and baby home but my dad had been late to fetch me, so I was still there when the new parents arrived,” adds Pat.


Baby Mindy with Pat’s mother

I just held her and held her and said, ‘I’ll always love you.’

“I was absolutely distraught and my dad was saying, ‘She can’t do this.’ But it had all been organised and I just had no other options. It was totally heartbreaking. The one thing I did stipulate was that my baby girl should always have pets. In theory we weren’t allowed to make any demands but it was the one thing that made me feel better about the situation.

“So much of that time is just a blank for me. I’ve heard that the body just shuts down and won’t allow you to dwell on heartbreaking times – as if it’s protecting itself. I spent the next six months in a kind of fog as I tried to rebuild my life without her.”

Being reunited in Covent Garden was a dream come true for both Mindy and Pat but in their hearts they knew they needed to put their relationship on hold again. At the time Pat was going through a divorce and Mindy’s adoptive parents were still alive, so out of respect to other family members they didn’t carry on the relationship. 

“I was so thrilled to meet Mindy,” says Pat. “But it would have upset the balance for so many people at the time.”

So it was only a couple of years after her adoptive mother had passed away that Mindy decided the time had come to get back in touch.


Family duties meant that at first Mindy and Pat had to put their relationship on hold

“I’ll never forget the letter,” says Pat. “It had a lovely foxhound on the front and when I saw it was from Alana I just wept. The funny thing was my husband, Keith, just assumed 
it was from Marianne, as the writing was almost identical. When Mindy told me the news about her mum I knew that we could pick up where we left off.”

At that stage Mindy hadn’t told Pat that she was married to a well-known TV presenter.

“I said, ‘Mum, I probably need to tell you something,’” she says.

And Pat continues, “Obviously, I loved Top Gear but if anything, knowing Mindy was married to Richard Hammond made things feel a bit awkward for me. If it had just been Joe Bloggs, the local farmer, it would have been easier. As it was, I hated the idea that she might think I would be different with her in any way.”

Mindy adds, “It’s a weird situation. The people who have known us forever understand what we are like. And as Richard’s fame has grown they just know how to deal with it. But when a celebrity suddenly drops into your family it’s quite a big deal and can take a bit of adjustment. I had to say, ‘When we’re together I’m afraid you can’t put things on 
social media afterwards – and don’t feel awkward if he gets recognised when we’re out.’”

Nevertheless, when Mindy finally met her sisters, Marianne, Sara and Nicky and their partners and children, there was an instant connection – and no awkward feelings.

“We went to the Cotswold Wildlife Park,” recalls Pat, “and it was just hilarious. It was incredible, as the children just clicked and we had a whale of a time. As I remember, we all ended up chucking each other in the fountain. I think we were eventually thrown out.”

“We’re all a bit naughty,” Mindy confesses. “We all love horses and dogs – oh, and prosecco and champagne.”

As we talk about both the deeply sad and the more recent fabulously happy times, it’s clear that although apart for many years, Mindy and Pat are now making up for lost time and 
are devoted to each other.

Whether they’re sharing pictures of Dilly, the dog Mindy gave Pat for her birthday, after much secret collaboration with her sisters, or talking about other members of the family, there is clearly a wonderful chemistry between them.

Mindy Hammond familyCLIVE SHALICE

Mindy immediately struck a connection with her new found sisters

So what are their plans for Mother’s Day?

“Oh, gosh, we should organise something shouldn’t we?” Mindy says.

“Yes, we better start planning,” Pat agrees, and the two of them chat about the various events coming up – Pat’s silver wedding celebrations, a holiday for Mindy and the girls and an upcoming family wedding.

“Sorry about this,” says Mindy, “but when we catch up…” 

“… we can’t stop,” Pat finishes.

Source link

Most Popular News