A nurse who was abandoned by her alcoholic mother has revealed that she tracked the woman down, cared for her for almost a decade until she died, yet never told her who she really was.

Phyllis Whitsell was raised in a Birmingham orphanage by nuns after being abandoned by her birth mother, Bridget Mary Larkin.

Tipperary native Larkin had five children by five fathers, all of whom ended up in care.

Whitsell, a nurse, managed to track Larkin down and visited her regularly in the capacity of a caring, friendly nurse. 

Whitsell told the Daily Mail that as a young mother aged 25, she put on her nurses uniform and visited an address where she was told her mother, known locally as 'Tipperary Mary', might live.

She had previously been told by her own adoptive parents that her birth mother was dead.

Seeing her mother answer the door, disorientated and ravaged by alcohol, she knew she wanted to keep it a secret from her family to avoid chaos.

"It probably wasn't the best time at all. My baby was only eight-weeks-old and I was there, full of hormones. In another way, it was now or never. I knew she was getting older," Whitsell told the paper.

"My mum would have been totally disruptive. It would have upset the children. She wasn't just a bit merry [when drunk], she was throwing things and would look a state," she added.

Whitsell would go on to find out the harrowing details of Larkin's life, including the abuse and neglect she endured during her Irish childhood.

"The only thing I'd hoped to get from her is friendship, which I did. She looked forward to my visits because she was lonely and she was comical at times. She used to have me in bits. 

'She'd either be drunk or hungover - and if she was hungover she'd be in a bad mood.