Twenty two years ago a stranger came across an abandoned baby in a phone box and today the pair have been reunited for the first time.

In an emotional encounter Kiran Sheikh, who was only two hours old when she was dumped, got to meet the man who carried her to safety over two decades ago.

Kiran’s mother was trapped in an abusive relationship when she gave birth to her daughter on April 30, 1994, and felt that she had no choice but to give her baby up.

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She left Kiran in a phone box in Forest Gate, east London, after calling the Samaritans to come and look after her baby.

However, by the time they arrived, the youngster had been found by Joe Campbell, then 30, who called police after seeing what he first thought was ‘a bag of chips’.

Mr Campbell, now 52, sent gifts and birthday cards to Kiran for the first five years of her life, but was then asked by social services to cut all ties.

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He was allowed a picture of her, which he has kept until this day. Mr Campbell also said that he wanted to adopt the baby but he was refused because he wasn’t married at the time.

Nevertheless, he never forgot about Kiran and continued to refer to her to his own five children as their ‘adopted sister’.

Yesterday Joe saw that Ms Sheikh had made an appeal in the Metro to find her saviour and he was over the moon.

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‘A colleague showed it to me when he saw my name, and was sure it was me. I said “no”. Then I saw her photograph and I was overcome, I was so happy,’ said Mr Campbell, from Bell Green, south London.

They were shortly reunited and Ms Sheikh, who has always lived in Forest Gate, said: ‘He says anyone would have done what he did, but they wouldn’t. It’s so amazing to have been reunited with him. He’s my hero. We lived down the road from each other for years, we must have passed each other, I can’t believe we were so close.’

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Mr Campbell is keen to introduce Ms Sheikh, now a mum herself to a two-year-old, to his wife Ursula, 49, and the rest of his family. ‘This is the happiest day of my life,’ he added. ‘I never stopped thinking about her, I never thought this day would come.

‘She has a family waiting for her now, my children will love to meet her. I’m so grateful we have been brought together.’