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James’ Story

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James 01

Trigger Warning: This story talks about physical abuse which some readers might find distressing.

I am writing a book about my experiences growing up in boarding schools and institutions. I want to tell my story so people know what I went through and how badly I was treated.

It feels better now but when you have been through what I have been through it stays with you. Kirstie listens to my stories and helps me write them down and my daughter is typing them up. I hope Certitude can help me publish my book.

I grew up in the 1950s and went to a series of boarding schools from around eight years-old. We were locked up if we didn’t do as we were told and every Friday was ‘smack bottom day’. A housemaster spat in my mouth one time when I did something wrong. When one of my friends ran away, he was brought back by the police and thrown into the freezing swimming pool even though he couldn’t swim. He was so cold. I still get panic attacks and I am afraid of water. I can’t walk across Putney Bridge on my own.

I look forward to Kirstie coming because I enjoy our chats. Sometimes we sit in the garden and I tell her about my life and how difficult it was. She has the patience to listen to me; sometimes other people misunderstand me. I used to do a lot of gardening but I can’t since my legs have gone. I follow the news and sometimes me and Kirstie shout at the TV.

“I like James’ attitude to life; he keeps going and keeps busy. I support him with things like doctors’ appointments but I am also here to listen. He knows he can call me anytime that I’m not with him.”
Kirstie Powell Support Worker