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16 October 2014

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By William Bleasdale
November 2004, Rhyl
A digital story from Capture Wales

Losing Johnny

A new town and two little brothers aged four and six go off to explore and play by the river bank. Tragically only William returns home that day.

"This photograph is my Mother's most treasured possession.

Johnny was six and I was four.

A new town and we were off to explore. We ran across the street, over the old bridge and along the river bank.

Boats with lots of shiny wood were taking day trippers up the river.

"Let's have a paddle", said Johnny.

Hand in hand we watched the boats go by and jumped as the waves from them rushed towards us.

I watched the next wave; perhaps it was bigger than the others. I felt his hand leave mine and suddenly I was alone. I called his name but there was no answer.

I remember picking up two pairs of sandals, both full of water, and walking home.

I lay in bed wondering what a funeral was but knowing that it was something to do with my brother.

He seemed very near and I felt tears in my eyes. I tried to rub them away with clenched fists but they wouldn't stop and I shut my eyes tight. When I opened them I was in bed and the room was dark.

"Johnny", I felt as though he was there and I called him again. I reached out a hand but found only blackness. A terror gripped me and I jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs.

All these years later and I still seem to be reaching for his hand."

William Bleasdale

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am 62 years old and live in Rhyl. I have to spend much more time writing from 2005 onwards. I am a keen traveller, especially rail journeys and have started a series of travelogues, starting with Peru.

What's your story about?
The death of my brother when I was a child.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
To share the emotional impact with others.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
Learning new skills; working with talented BBC staff; bonding as a group. The friendly, professional, supporting and caring attitude of the BBC Team and fellow participants.

Your comments

"That's so sad; I couldn't even begin to imagine losing my brother. My brother and I just have a special bond, like all brothers do, and if I lost him did I don't even know what I would do. I am so sorry." Jon Benoit, Ontario, Canada, Sept 2008.

"This is not a review. My name is also William Bleasdale. I am from the US, but my father Aloysius Bleasdale and his family were born in Preston, Lancaster, England.I just thought it was interesting to find more Bleasdales since we are few here.Thanks." Bill Bleasdale. RI, USA, Oct 2007.

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