Ex-army man from Devizes writes book about his life to help others (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Ex-army man from Devizes writes book about his life to help others
11:00am Friday 20th September 2013 in News
Imagine being taken from your home as a seven-year-old and, through no fault of your own, being put into a children’s home.
That’s what happened to Les Welling of Sarum Drive, Devizes, and now he has written a book about the home where he lived for seven years.
Despite his difficult start in life Mr Welling, 66, went on to have a successful career in the Army and the civil service and raised a loving family of his own.
He decided to write a book about his time in The Hollies children’s home in Sidcup, Kent, in the 1950s to help himself and other children who lived there. He has published it himself.
He said: “People who have read it said it has been very therapeutic to them. Some had some very vivid memories, some had awful times there. I had a good time compared to some.”
Mr Welling, one of six children, grew up in Deptford, in south east London. In 1951 with post-war rationing still in place, the Welling family was poor and he said he was always starving, and remembered being fed bread and dripping by neighbours.
When his mother walked out on Mr Welling’s family his father, who worked nights, was unable to look after them and he put Mr Welling and three of his siblings into care while the older two siblings went to live with relatives.
Mr Welling, who is retired and married with three children and a granddaughter, said his time at The Hollies was positive overall.
He said: “When I arrived at The Hollies I was lonely, scared. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I had sores on my body and was under-nourished. It took me about a year to adjust to life in The Hollies.
“They were my formative years. It was not a bad experience, it had its ups and downs. Sometimes we were lonely, sometimes people bullied us but it didn’t do me any harm. It probably helped me, discipline-wise. If I hadn’t gone into a children’s home I might have got into trouble with the law, certainly I wouldn’t have been fed as well.
“Some people have not told their wives and children that they were in care. I felt a book needed to be written and I suppose to get a little bit of peace myself.”
The book, Who Cared About The Deptford Boy?, costs £8.99 by email at email@example.com or from Reading Matters in Sidmouth Street, Devizes. Profits will go to The Hollies reunion group.
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