BEECHOLME CHILDREN’S HOME
A SURVIVOR’S TALE
I often receive messages via this blog, but recently I received one that stopped me in my tracks. It is from someone who saw my blog post on Beecholme and felt compelled to write. I was so moved by the honesty and triumph over such adversity, I couldn’t help but take the author up on their offer to share it.
Obviously every survivor deals with abuse in their own way and at their own time, but this next story might go some way to helping others – which is their very intention.
I have kept the correspondent’s name anonymous but I want to say a massive ‘THANK YOU’ for reaching out and sharing such a tragic but uplifting story of your life. I admire your strength greatly and am honoured you chose to share it through this blog.
Dear Sir or Madam,
I lost my struggle to keep my eyes dry almost as soon as I began to write this note to you after I came across your information almost by accident.
As best as I can recall, I started at Beecholme in 1961 or 1962 (when I was four years old), and I left in 1966 (when I was eight or nine years old.) I was sent there because I had lost my mother when I was six months old.
Only two tangible items of information about Beecholme come vaguely to mind:
- I think I lived in Rendel and perhaps in one other house, and there was a Ms Green who taught at the primary school.
- Also, I broke two toes so badly that I was hospitalised at the age of seven for two months at Queen Mary’s in Carshalton. I remember that was the first time in my life that I heard the word ‘amputate’ (without really understanding what the consequences of this would be), which mercifully never came to pass.
With a to-me surprising amount of strength and level of dignity whose source I do not know, I am for some reason able to say the following without bitterness or rancour:
My time at Beecholme was unbelievably brutal and traumatic, and yet, I harbour no grudge or animosity. The violence inflicted by older children on younger children is still a distinct memory, and the severity far exceeded even the most ugly of hazing events that are sometimes associated with initiation rites at private organisations, such as schools and clubs.
In spite of the massive depravity around me at such a key formative stage in my life, I have somehow managed to survive, albeit with a lower quality of life than might have otherwise been possible. Some would say that I have achieved an above average measure of “success” in life and, if you will indulge me, I will share that briefly here:
I went on to earn three regular degrees, plus one other from the University of Oxford Blue for my athletic endeavours and I was invited to become a member of the prestigious sports club, Vincent’s.
Of course, no amount of any wordly gain or recognition can ever compensate for the horror inflicted at Beecholme at such a tender age. I now make my home in the United States, where I have been for some thirty years.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to convey the above information. I will leave it to your discretion as to how much, or how little, of it you feel is suitable for a wider audience. It is my hope that this brief version of my story will encourage other survivors.