The One Show

The One Show - 29 March 2018

I knew it was approaching the anniversary of the Babylift.  Since I’ve been searching for answers I’ve been very conscious of this time of the year.  This year was no different.

Until now…

Out of the blue I receive an email from The One Show.  I must admit, to begin with I thought it was a bit of a hoax.

He explains his name is Glen and he’s a researcher for The One Show.  He explains he’s covering a story on a man called Vance from Northern Ireland in his search and the fact that he is in Vietnam currently, having found his birth mother through a DNA test.  He was a baby on Operation Babylift in 1975 and all of a sudden it starts to fall into place.

I met Vance just two years ago when he did his own documentary and I even introduced Vance to Brian Freemantle, the instigator of Operation Babylift, all those years ago, when he was the Foreign Editor of The Daily Mail in 1975.

So I call him back and this Glen is a right laugh!  I found him really easy to talk to and really enjoyed our conversations, telling him all about my past and what I know (and more importantly, what I don’t), and he’s so interested – bless him, I know he needs to pay attention but I can wax lyrical about my story, my sure his eyes glazed over at some point, but being so easy to talk to I’m sure this has secured my place on the show.

So, before I know it, I am firming up details of appearing on The One Show and now they want Brian to be on the show as well since I have told them I will be bringing him as my guest.

That evening, Wednesday 28 March 2018, I will never forget.  I am being interviewed next to Brian Freemantle by The One Show’s Matt Baker and Alex Jones right next to Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans (Miss Saigon) talking about my former life – such a surreal experience.  Other guests on the show included Mariella Fostrop & Rev Richard Coles and George Ezra singing his new song, ‘Paradise’.


Sussex Press Agency Debuts On BBC Inside Out

An Eastbourne woman’s journey to find out her past in Vietnam is the story behind a BBC Inside Out which was featured on BBC1 Monday 9 November 2009.

Co-Produced by Paul Gibson from the Sussex Press Agency, the piece which was screened by BBC1’s Inside Out South-East is part of a longer documentary which highlights Viktoria Cowley’s journey to find out her background, after being adopted from Vietnam during the fall of Saigon in 1975.

Above: Polly Evans and Rob Smith from BBC South-East Today talk to Viktoria Cowley Live on the programme.

Viktoria was one of the 99 babies airlifted to the UK during Operation Babylift which was organised by the Daily Mail. 34 years later, Vikki has set out to discover her past and meet as many of the other adoptees who were on the same flight as possible. BBC Inside Out will feature Viktoria discovering a photograph of herself on the front page of the Daily Mail in 1975, and travel to London to meet a group of other Vietnamese Orphans.

April 2010 marks the 35th Anniversary of the airlift, and thousands of people will travel to the country to re-unite and mark this special anniversay. 2,500 babies were airlifted from the country during the Vietnam war, but only a handful came to the UK.

BBC Inside Out will also be producing a 30 minute special programme inconjunction with the Sussex Press Agency early next year as the crew travel to Vietnam with Viktoria.

Over a two day period, Viktoria Cowley completed fifteen radio interviews and one live television news discussion programme. These were as follows:

BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Sussex, Sovereign Radio, South-East Today, BBC World Service, BBC 5 Live, BBC Wiltshire, BBC Radio Derby, BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC World Today Programme, BBC Five Live, BBC World Service. Other Coverage included; Eastbourne Herald, Hastings Observer, Bexhill Observer, BBC Magazine.

The programme is also expected to be screened on BBC World Asia in the near future.

Read more about Viktoria’s story

You can also listen to two of the interviews for a further 6 days:
BBC Radio Sussex: Monday 9 November 2009 – The Breakfast Show – click through to 2hrs 12 mins.
BBC Five Live: Tuesday 10 November 2009 – The Breakfast Show with Nicky Campbell – click through to 2hrs 39 mins.

Read more about the Sussex Press Agency.

Live Transmission of Documentary Feature

We’ve had news that we need to do some PR events which sound REALLY exciting and will update as soon as I have further news. But for now, pop this date in your diaries:

Monday 9 November (a month today) BBC1 – Inside Out – 19:30 GMT

Sadly, Inside Out is regional but you can view on BBC iPlayer …for up to 7 days after transmission (BBC iPlayer won’t work outside the UK – sorry!)

Watch the trailer here:

The Search Starts


So, I started my search. I Googled everything I possibly could, the name of my Orphanage, my supposed Name which I knew was wrong, Operation Babylift, Orphans, The Daily Mail, Project Vietnam Orphans, Reverend Patrick Ashe, in fact anything that was remotely connected to the airlift.

I found a few bits and pieces on the BBC website, a few websites which were to do with the Airlift but they were all US based – there didn’t seem to be anything based in the UK.

I continued, never gave up, persisted, determined and intent on finding something, anything – anything that would steer me in some direction as to where to go next.

It really wasn’t that long before I came across my first gem. After having Googled the name of the orphanage I was in, it returned a result and as I clicked on the link, my heart was filled with so much joy as I found the name of someone who had a very similar name to mine who was in the same orphanage as myself. Her name was Lam Yen Hoan, mine was Lam Yen Hang, she had been in the Lam Thi Ny orphanage in Saigon, where I had been. This was such a revelation. I aslo had her name as an American Citizen, having been changed by her adoptive parents after her adoption.

As I’m on Facebook I did a search to see whether she was on there and to my elation, a result came back. So I emailed her and so the connection began.