Like so many others I’ve spent the last two weeks watching the live tweets from the inquest into Connor’s Death, thanks to @LBInquest via the amazing @georgejulian
I couldn’t make the inquest because I’ve been moving house (no comparison of course to what Sara and her family has been going through, but stressful and emotional for its own reasons). I’ve hated not being there to support Sara but sadly it just hasn’t been possible.
The verdict was today. A damning verdict. “Serious Failings” A desperately sad course of events and further shocking revelations of just what happened along with new disclosures. I’m sure others will blog and comment on this far more eloquently than I ever could.
So, instead I wanted to share a couple of my memories of Connor.
My favourite memory is from when we visited the House of Commons for Mencaps’ Breaking Point campaign launch.
It was an eventful day. Including chocolate cake smearing on expensive suits and Andy from Little Britain impersonations courtesy of G, and singing happy birthday to Boris Johnson courtesy of M (filmed by BBC South Today)
When getting the taxi back to the station, the taxi driver asked us if we’d had a nice day! Connor in is usual way launched into… ‘Big Ben blew up! There were police and fire engines everywhere” (I’m paraphrasing but you get the gist)
“Blimey!” said the bemused taxi driver “I didn’t hear anything on the news about that!” – Classic Connor!!
It’s true to say that Connor really only (just about) tolerated kids like G and the rest of our merry band of ‘special’ kids. He never saw himself like them….I really liked that about him. He had aspirations. I guess the difficulty came when he voiced what probably lots of other people were thinking but were more socially aware so didn’t… “I hate those bloody disableds” still makes me chuckle as did the reluctance to come along to our get togethers. Although he did enjoy some of the cake available. And I love this pic of him with G and his chocolate fountain gift!
As a group of friends though we thought it was funny (parents of disabled kids tend to have a rather black sense of humour which you’re only allowed to share if you’re in the same club!)
While packing up my old house I came across a couple of old family video recordings. Many of course that included my late husband Bob (who died just 6 weeks before Connor) and one, when my daughter Ollie did a short film about kids club. Connor was there with his younger brother T. My heart skipped a beat (not for the first time watching it). It was such a happy day. So much promise of other happy days.
As I watched the case unfolding and heard the submissions from @paulebowen I couldn’t help but think…WOW! Connor would have loved all this! he’d have seriously loved his legal team. I’m wishing now he only had to call them because his mum had asked him to empty the dishwasher!
As a close group of friends (the life raft, along with the rest of our families) Connor was one of ‘ours’. We know it could have been anyone of our kids, brothers/sisters. Connor’s death shocked us all to the core and has left a huge hole in our hearts. We miss him. We hate what this has done to his lovely family. We hate the people who allowed this to happen. It should NEVER HAVE HAPPENED!!
The systems, processes and skills of the people working at STATT were clearly seriously lacking. The communication with his family or rather the lack of it however is indicative of everything that is wrong with the social care sector. It confirms to me why my role as a Family Consultant with Dimensions is so important and that everything we are trying to do is right but why there remains so much more to do!
I hope beyond hope that something good will come from all this. That Connor’s death will leave a lasting legacy. A legacy that includes (amongst lots of other things) the very real need to work in partnership with families.