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Street Kid: One Child’s Desperate Fight for Survival

Язык: Английский
Год издания: 2018 год
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      Street Kid: One Child’s Desperate Fight for Survival
Judy Westwater

Wanda Carter

John Peel's programme Home Truths first brought Judy's moving childhood story to light – Abducted by her psychotic spiritualist father and kept like a dog in the backyard, brutalised at the hands of nuns in a Manchester orphanage, and left to live wild on the streets. But Judy survived and today has founded 7 children's centres in South Africa.John Peel first brought Judy's moving childhood story to light on ‘Home Truths’. Abducted by her psychotic spiritualist father and kept like a dog in the backyard, she went on to suffer at the brutal hands of nuns in a Manchester orphanage, before living wild on the streets. An incredible, heart-wrenching story of a child who refused to give up.After a childhood lived in terror, in 1994 Judy was presented with an Unsung Heroes Award for her charity work with street children in South Africa. Her moving story came to light after Judy was interviewed by John Peel on BBC’s ‘Home Truths’. ‘Street Kid’ is the inspirational and heartwrenching story of her early years.At age two, in postwar Manchester, Judy was snatched from her mother and sisters by her psychotic father – a spiritualist preacher. He kept her in his backyard, leaving her to scavenge from bins to beat off starvation. At four, she was sent to an inhumanely strict catholic orphanage, before being put back in her father’s cruel care. For the next three years she was treated as a virtual slave.After being taken by her father to South Africa, Judy ran away to join the circus where she found her first taste of freedom and friendship – before her father tracked her down. Weeks later Judy was alone again and living on the streets, too terrified to turn to her circus friends. For 9 months 12-year-old Judy made her home in a shed behind a bottle store before collapsing in a shop doorway from near-starvation.Finally, aged 17, Judy managed to pay her way back to England to find her mother and sisters. But her return to Manchester cruelly shattered any dreams of a happy reunion.Determined that her childhood experiences should in some way give meaning to her life, Judy has worked tirelessly to help children in need back in South Africa in the very place she had been treated to such abuse herself. She has opened 7 centres to date.

Street Kid

One Child’s Desperate Fight for Survival


With Wanda Carter


My beloved children Jude, David, Carrie and Erin

and all my beautiful grandchildren


Cover (#ub2cf2b83-4958-55a6-9149-d98f4ed97747)

Title Page (#u76f2c377-427e-56f2-b7a7-4a50f94c0460)

Chapter One (#u4ddd3726-1612-5173-8843-efec61f8f124)

Chapter Two (#u740e4090-befb-5b17-b451-accc12877cda)

Chapter Three (#u25880017-d3f5-5a83-a097-3a6176bd74f4)

Chapter Four (#u9b171ddb-1ab6-5904-91f9-2f39ab04f8e2)

Chapter Five (#u0536616c-31b5-5736-b50c-b419e0a571cf)

Chapter Six (#u30166adc-4bc7-517e-a3b4-e89bfa78f87d)

Chapter Seven (#u8e26e190-d480-53f8-bd5f-acef6945999d)

Chapter Eight (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Nine (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Ten (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Eleven (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Twelve (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Thirteen (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Fourteen (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Fifteen (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Sixteen (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Seventeen (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Eighteen (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Nineteen (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Twenty (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Twenty-one (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Twenty-two (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Twenty-three (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Twenty-four (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter Twenty-five (#litres_trial_promo)

Acknowledgements (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Author (#litres_trial_promo)

Pegasus Children’s Trust (#litres_trial_promo)

One Child by Torey Hayden (#litres_trial_promo)

The Little Prisoner by Jane Elliott (#litres_trial_promo)

Hannah’s Gift by Maria Housden (#litres_trial_promo)

The Choice by Bernadette Bohan (#litres_trial_promo)

Copyright (#litres_trial_promo)

About the Publisher (#litres_trial_promo)

Chapter One (#ulink_2e9aae00-5f8f-518c-83f1-823b639c823b)

Was two when Mum and Dad deserted us, leaving Mary, Dora, and me alone in the house for seven weeks without food, light or coal for the fire.

I was born in Cheshire in 1945 and although the war had ended that year, it had been a battleground in our house whenever my parents were together. When my dad wasn’t working in a factory he was dressed up in a herringbone tweed suit preaching at local spiritualist church gatherings. It was only when my mother married him that she realised what a nasty piece of work he really was but she still managed to have three kids with Dad before she decided she’d be better off with her Irish boyfriend, Paddy.

When Mum ran off she took with her our identity cards and allowance books. She must have thought that my father would see to it that Mary, Dora and I were fed and clothed but all he did when he realised he was saddled with us was ask our next door neighbour, Mrs Herring, to look in on us every so often and check we were okay. He said he’d be back the next weekend but he didn’t keep his promise.

So that was how the three of us came to be left in the house alone.

Mary was seven, and the oldest. I reckon that as soon as I was born, I knew better than to cry for my mother: it was always Mary who’d looked after me and Dora. Mrs Herring looked in on us now and then, letting us have whatever scraps she could spare; but it was Mary that kept us going. She must have longed for a mother’s care herself, especially when she had to go to school in such a terrible state. All the teachers were appalled that she was so dirty, and they’d often have her up in front of all the class to tell her off.

One day it got so bad for Mary that she dragged our tin bath into the living room, put it in front of the fireplace, and started filling it with cold water. She pulled me up from the hearth, where I was eating ashes, and said, ‘Come on, we’ve got to get you dressed. We’ve got to go and look for Mummy.’

We went out and made our way to the market, which wasn’t far from our house. It was cold; my feet were bare; and all the clothes hanging from the stalls were flapping in my face. I kept looking through them to see if I could see my mother.

And Mary kept saying, ‘Look for Mummy.’

After seven weeks, Mrs Herring was at the end of her tether. She had only meant to look out for us for a few days. She must have thought, ‘Where the heck is their father?’ Maybe Dad sent her messages saying he’d be back in a week or something. But the weeks went by and we were in a terrible state. In those days, times were tough but people looked out for each other, and I’m sure Mrs Herring just thought she was doing her best. But at some point she must have realized she had to do something or we’d get really sick. A bitter winter was setting in and we had no money for coal or food. When I touched my hair, I could feel it was all matted and crusty, and my body was covered in weeping sores that hurt when I lay down.

Mrs Herring contacted the welfare people, who managed to track down my father and served him with a summons. Dad suggested to them that he find someone to look after us in exchange for free lodging at our house, and they agreed with the plan. A homeless couple of drifters called the Epplestones came forward, and the welfare board was satisfied. In the years after the war they could barely keep up with the rising tide of poverty and need, so once our case was closed they didn’t bother their heads about us again.

After five months my mother returned home, pregnant and penniless. My dad allowed her back in the house on the understanding that she didn’t see Paddy again and had her baby adopted. She agreed.

I don’t remember being glad Mum was back or anything like that. You only feel glad or relieved if you have something to compare it with but life with her had always been pretty awful for us. Still, it was better than being in the care of Mrs Epplestone who’d hated having to look after us and shouted a lot. Most of the time, Mary, Dora and I had sat huddled like mice on the old brown couch in the living room, with its springs poking through the cover. But it was when it came to mealtimes that the horror really began. Bowls of porridge were banged down in front of us and when I couldn’t eat the nasty, slimy, lumpy stuff, Mrs Epplestone would yank my head back by the hair and force the spoon down my throat until I couldn’t breathe. When I choked and gagged she’d hit me across the face.
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