7:19pm Monday 15th October 2007
By An Editor's View
I had the great pleasure of chatting to Jodie Cross, the mother of little Lydia Cross, today.
Lydia, as most people will remember, lost both her legs after she was mis-diagnosed as having an ear infection when she actually had meningitis. By the time it was discovered the true nature of her illness it was too late to save her legs.
The family is still locked in a legal battle with health bosses over whose fault the mis-diagnosis was, though if you ask me there has never been a more open and shut case.
The last time I saw Lydia was when she was a sprightly three-year-old who refused to let her condition stop her having fun.
The family, who lived in Chippenham, have now moved to Devon but time hasn't dampened six-year-old Lydia's zest for life.
Nor has the strain of coping with the ongoing legal battle, the fundraising and the extra care her daughter needs done anything to dent Jodie's amazing positivity.
Just five minutes on the phone with her chatting about Lydia's progress and the challenges the family are facing makes you realise any petty problems that have come your way are exactly that - petty.
I can't remember anyone with as much of a glass half-fulll attitude as Jodie. It is no wonder Lydia has such a sunny disposition.
Last week she won a Child of Courage award at the Pride of Britain awards in London and by all accounts charmed everyone there, including X-Factor judge Louis Walsh who took her round all the celebrities to get their autographs without realising she was walking on prosthetic legs.
You can't help but wish Jodie, Lydia, sister Milly and husband Tony all the very best. If ever a family deserved a little bit of happiness it is them.
Their amazing cheerfulness certainly put into perspective the minor local difficulties the Gazette has had with Chippenham police over the nailbiting saga of the benches in Chippenham High Street.
Last week I said the inspector there, Gavin Williams, had banned all of his staff from talking to the Gazette because he didn't like the fact we ran a story about the police supposedly threatening Chippenham Town Council with prosecution if they moved the benches back to the bridge, where yobs gather at night.
Having finally spoken to him today it seems the ban was not because he didn't like us running the story but because he and his officers felt vulnerable in the wake of the Gazette's reporting, which he felt was innacurate.
I told him I accepted that the story maybe did not fully reflect the police's position on the benches and that we hadn't made it clear to them when we eventually managed to get a policeman on the phone that the town council thought it was going to be prosecuted.
If we had done so then we could have reported that it was never likely the council would have been prosecuted.
He felt our story has soured relations with the town council, although I maintained that our story was reflecting the fact that some members of the council were not happy with the police in the first place, so the relations were already soured,
I hope he accepted that we had done our best to check the story (having tried from Monday to Wednesday to get someone to talk to us) but had perhaps not made it totally clear what the story was when we eventually spoke to them on the Wednesday.
However, he was not happy (to say the least) with the blog I wrote on Friday and I am delighted to make it clear for anyone with the mental strength to still be reading this that we were not, Insp Williams maintains, banned for running a story he didn't like.
I hope we can begin civilised relations again and report the latest episode of the bench saga this week, with the police's position fully explained to the satisfaction of all.
More importantly I hope the police and the town council can work a compromise out so that the benches go back to being where people want them - at a time that suits the police's needs. In the haste to solve one problem it would be dreadful if it created another
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