Classic Confession: Hammy The Hamster

Twenty years ago, when Simon was a whippersnapper presenter on BBC Radio 1, he received thousands of letters from listeners confessing their darkest secrets and worst misdemeanours, begging for his forgiveness. Every day, Father Mayo read out a confession - and then he'd decide whether to grant forgiveness or not.

Read a classic Confession below, then Send Simon Your Confession


Dear Simon,

This confession goes back to 1964. I was fourteen years old and living near Guildford. The person to whom I must confess is my sister, June, who to this day thinks her pet hamster, Hammy, disappeared by escaping from his cage in our dining room. Wrong.

At this time, I was very engrossed in radio-controlled model aircraft and I used to go to a local cricket ground with a friend to fly my latest acquisition, a three-channel 60" wingspan 'KeilKraft Matador'. The actual cricket pitch made a perfectly smooth take-off and landing strip for the aircraft and I soon became very proficient at the controls.

Now there was a television programme called 'Tales of the Riverbank' for younger viewers which featured a hamster which, amongst other things, used to be seen driving a jeep and a boat. So I thought, I wonder if Hammy would like a flight on my aeroplane?

On further discussion with my friend, we duly selected a shoe box complete with holes in both ends and transported Hammy and my aeroplane – which had a large cockpit area, plenty of room for Hammy – to the cricket ground. We popped him in, complete with carrots, and, after starting up, taxied him down the runway ready for take-off.

My friend and I lay down on the ground when he went past to get a proper perspective of his size and make the whole flight more realistic. We could see Hammy sitting up looking through the cockpit window. After three or four circuits of the playing fields I landed him and he was still looking out through the cockpit having obviously enjoyed the whole trip.

This little treat for Hammy was repeated on several more occasions. Until one day, after having taken off, the aeroplane was coming towards us, nice and low for a flypast when I suddenly noticed a distinct slackness in the controls. I made the aircraft turn and bank away in a large arc and on its second flypast, I lost radio control altogether. Hammy passed for the last time over our heads, still gazing intently through the front screen, obviously still enjoying himself unaware of the pending disaster.

My continued efforts of frantically prodding the controls for some response were alas to no avail, the aircraft and Hammy continued to climb steadily away into the sunset until it was literally in the clouds and then out of sight. After the shock of losing my aeroplane my thoughts turned to my sister. She adored Hammy, what was I to do? After some thought, I staged a 'breakout' from the hamster cage. That wire is really tough stuff when you try to chomp it with wire cutters to look like it was teeth but, with a little sawdust scattered on the floor, the stage was set.

The final result was very convincing and imagine my relief when my father told my broken-hearted and by now sobbing sister that it was quite common for hamsters to gnaw through wire in this fashion and that Hammy had probably gone out the back door and is now living back with nature.

I'm very sorry and I am glad to have told someone else about the poor hamster's demise.

Yours sincerely,


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