War Memorial Gary Trouton


November 2001

The case of Lauren Wright

Some 60 years or so ago, when I was growing up not too many miles from Stoke Ferry, if I did something wrong I was as likely to get a clip round the ear from the local Bobby, my teacher or a neighbour as I was from my parents. On the other hand, if I fell off my bike or from a wall these very same people were also quick to pick me up and make sure that I was not badly hurt. In the 1930's we all lived in communities; not in housing estates or high-rise blocks of flats. When I saw and read of the horrific case of Lauren Wright from Welney, I could not help but make comparisons. In Lauren's case, a detailed case review sent to our local MP, Mrs. Gillian Shepherd, noted that not one single report on Lauren's condition had been initiated by her school during the 18 or so months of her abuse. The official excuse given was that, at the time, they did not have a Child Welfare teacher appointed! In the 1930's we did not need a special title to care for each other. I could only wonder just where modernisation and enlightenment were leading us.

Then, unfortunately, I heard on Radio 4 the brilliant reading by Simon Callow of the letters of Oscar Wilde. As many of you will know, the early letters in this classic collection were written in Reading Gaol where Wilde was serving a two-year sentence for homosexual acts. Many of these early letters referred to his extreme concern as to the plight of the very small children imprisoned in Reading Gaol with him. These children, some as young as five and six, had committed the heinous crime of snaring rabbits. When a warder took pity on the smallest of these children and gave him a biscuit, he was immediately sacked from the prison staff.

Perhaps the human race has not progressed so far over the last hundred years as we thought it had!

I am delighted with this month's postbag. This is an excellent sign that, not only are people reading the Pump but also, they are keen to put forward their views. Please keep them coming; the more items of interest the bigger the postbag and the easier my job.

Ray Thompson

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