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16 October 2014

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The Gift

By Mandy Sprague
November 2006, Caerphilly
A digital story from Breaking Barriers

"My life has been anything but normal. How do I condense the complicated and somewhat bizarre story into two minutes? I don't have time to include the romantic Parisian love story of my grandparents, their deaths and how my mother and her identical twin were left as war orphans.

So I will tell a simpler story of my first few years. My mother was Marie Langton, a catholic with an engaging French accent. When she fell pregnant with me, she was enjoying living and working in West London. My mother was extremely fortunate and found a job as a nanny where they also allowed me to live in, and life for a while was good.

I've not yet uncovered the secret of the important man who was my father other than she met him at a party and she knew what she was doing.

Sadly, when I was eighteen months old, she lost that job and consequently her home. Thankfully she met Liz Ambrose who ran a home. It was the first of its kind where single mothers could live with their children. Through all of this Marie continued to struggle with the guilt and responsibility of raising a child as a single catholic mother, and finally agreed it would be best for me to be adopted by the Sprague family. Ken an artist, Sheila a potter, and my brother Sam who was four years older than me and always one step ahead. This time was the most secure and happiest of my childhood and life as a Sprague was never dull.

I went on to have a successful career backstage in theatre, film and TV. My only regret is that Marie died in 1969 and never had the opportunity to meet me as an adult, to see that her gift of adoption did give me the family and opportunity she'd wished for me. So I would like to dedicate my BAFTA award to her as my way of saying Thank You."

Your comments

"Very effectively told using photos. An interesting gift!" Gita Kokoschko from Adelaide, Australia.

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