“I lost my boy in the mosque. He was 14 years old. A tough bloke, he had dreams of being a goalkeeper. It’s been a hard two years. I’ve got through it and my faith and belief and knowing where he is, knowing that there’s an afterlife, he’s there, enjoying life.

I could have lost both of my boys that day – but the other was on a geography trip. He would have been in the mosque too. They had to go to the mosque on Friday – it was their mothers belief, not mine. I tried to do the right thing and become a muslim, but it just wasn’t in me.

I gave an impact statement. I said to him, you are forgiven unconditionally. he showed no emotion, apparently there was a slight blink that i didn’t see. I don’t know what he’s feeling or what he’s thinking but I want to meet him. Not to condemn him, not to be angry with him, just to say there’s still a chance for him.

I’m 73 now. I’ve done many things, I was trained as a teacher. But I had trouble a few years into my teaching career, I was diagnosed bipolar. Been an up and down and rocky road. That was 50 years ago but I call myself a psychiatric survivor. I’m trying to get busy, more involved with people, and writing. I’m trying to move but I’ve slowed up recently.

It’s good to be alive and well and not suffering from bipolar anymore. I sit down with a pen and ask God a few questions and the answers come. The pen flows, the words come to me, and they go down on paper. They don’t come from me, they come from within me. It’s like poetry.

It’s an interesting journey I’m on. I want to compose it all and put it into a book. I think other people will benefit from my writing.”

– Johnny

Charity registration number: CC57701