I have been thinking back to Christmas and the happy times we had at White House Farm in the festive period. Trimming the tree, mum in the kitchen baking and Sheila and I getting up to mischief pinching the chocolates from under the tree. I never would have imagined as a child and young man that the greatest gift I would ever wish for in my life would be my freedom.
I can’t recall that I was ever in a nativity play dressed as a little shepherd or a wise man but I suppose that I must have been in at least one when I was at my little school, Maldon Court. I do remember though some of the brilliant gifts mum and dad selected for me. I especially loved Lego bricks and would build so many fantastical structures, it was so much fun. Sheila and I once got a table tennis table, bats and ping pong balls, now you would have thought this was a great present but as none of the family were able to play it with any success it was soon abandoned.
One amazing Christmas gift was a car, which could be programmed to follow a course. It was called an Amaze-A-Matic car described as being a “car with a brain” which pre-dated swanky remote control cars. The car came supplied with narrow, long rectangular plastic sheets which had small areas and parts cut outs of them. These would be inserted into the rear of the car and it would drive on a pre-determined course set out by the inserted sheet. You even got some spare cardboard inserts and a set of instructions which explained how you could map your own course. It really was so much fun but the batteries, the great big ‘D’ size ones, never seemed to last very long and we were always hunting round for new ones so the excitement soon faded.
The best Christmas present I ever got though was a fabulous Scalextric set when I was about 13 which dad helped me set up in the dining room. It was a big set and had crossovers of the track, bridges, banking’s and even a lap counter so you could’t cheat. The set had 2 cars, a white one and a blue one I think they were, and looked like proper racing cars.
We would choose which famous racing driver we would be and had hours of fun zooming the cars round the track to become the motor racing champion. The cars went so fast and often would fly off the track and crash when you approached a corner too fast. For some reason everyone who ever raced my Scalextric with me always wanted to be on the outer track which was really handy as I had made a significant discovery which would prevent my car cascading from the track. After a little experimentation I discovered that if I sprayed a little of mum’s hairspray on to the track it caused it to be slightly sticky which would help hold my car in place and stop it flying off at the corners but I kept this discovery very secret at the time.
I have so many happy memories of Christmas spent with the people I loved and who loved me and I am grateful that over all the years of my wrongful imprisonment I can recall such happy times. As I have already said I would never have imagined when I was growing up that my freedom would be at the top of my wish list.
I know that my campaign team are working hard in relation to forensic issues which will see me released from jail and my conviction quashed. I know that the costs involved are huge and without the kindness and generosity of you the public these essential reports cannot be commissioned. With your help I will achieve freedom and next year be able to surround myself with friends as a free man and make new memories.
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