A baby girl abandoned by her mother in a phone box was reunited with her rescuer 22 years later.
Kiran Sheikh was just two hours old when her frightened mother who was in an abusive relationship left her in the middle of the night.
Her mother had called the Samaritans from the box but before they could arrive the newborn was found by Joel Campbell, who initially mistook her for a thrown bags of chips.
Joel called the police and Kiran was taken to Newham General Hospital, where she was given the name ‘April’ after the month in which she was born, as well as Joel’s surname.
But she was then adopted by another family who then went on to rename her and it was only when she was eight she was told the truth about her coming into the world.
Two decades later wanting to meet up with the man who found her she made an appeal and Mr Campbell saw the story and came forward.
Today after the pair met for the first time in central London, 22-year-old Kiran said: “I am so overwhelmed, this is unbelievable.
“I’ve been waiting 15 years to meet him and he’s finally here.
“He was the second person to hold me after my mother, it’s incredible.”
Joel was shown Kiran’s appeal for the man who had saved her by a colleague at work for delivery firm DPD, who immediately recognised his good deed 20 years earlier.
He had kept photos and clippings about Kiran from the time he found her in Forest Gate, East London, hoping he would one day see her again.
He said: “This is a beautiful, beautiful day.
“I am so glad she has got in touch after all this time, I have never forgotten her.
“I can’t believe she found me.”
Joel, now 52, had gone to the phone box, near where he lived, to call his parents in Guyana, as they had a five hour time difference.
He initially thought the vulnerable baby girl was discarded chip wrapper – not realising the new life swaddled inside them.
He said: “As I was walking towards the phone box, I could see what looked like chip wrappers on the floor – it annoyed me that people couldn’t pick up their mess.
“But just before I got to the door, I realised there was a tiny life form wrapped inside.
“She was an innocent, sweet little thing, just laying there gargling.
“As far as I can see, I did what anyone else would have done.”
Joel tried to stay in touch with Kiran, as she was named by her adoptive parents, by taking cards, money and gifts to social services.
He even asked if he could adopt the baby, but was told no as he wasn’t married at the time.
He continued for seven years, until social workers told him to stop – but Kiran says she never received his gifts, and was given no information about Joel.
She added: “I don’t know why they didn’t tell me about him.
“All I received were photocopies of the outsides of the cards he sent, not even what he’d written inside.
“I cannot believe they didn’t put anything on my file about him.
“They really could have done something – people don’t do what he did, not like that.”
As she grew up Kiran had suspicions she was adopted because her parents were much older than her friend’s parents and had different skin colour to her.
When she was 18, she received her files from social services, but there was little more information about the good Samaritan who saved her.
But she has never met her real mum, who left the baby because the father was violent and she already had six children.
The police made a huge appeal for the parents to come forwards at the time, but were unsuccessful – until Kiran’s mother gave birth to her eighth child two years later.
She admitted leaving the baby, but was not prosecuted and later completely disappeared.
Kiran received a letter from her mother apologising for her actions when the girl was aged three, but that was the last contact she had.
She has since been in touch with her other siblings but only maintained contact with one, Zoe, who was also put up for adoption and now lives in Florida, US.
Her dad is in prison in Canada for attempted murder after he stabbed another ex-girlfriend 30 times.
Another big shock came when the two realised Kiran had grown up streets away from where Joel lived until 1997 in Forest Gate – with the two having probably crossed paths unknowingly for years.
Joel, who now lives in Bell Green, south London, didn’t know his own biological mother, who died when he was three, and believes this may have influenced his kindness.
He said: “I wanted her to have parents.
“My stepmother looked after me as if I was her own, and I wanted Kiran to have that too.”