On February 24th I wrote a blog Abuse in Oaklands Children’s Home?”. In it I recall a memory of thirty years when in Oaklands childrens home a young boy told me he’d been abused. In the blog I explain that recently an ex-worker of Wigan Council contacted me to see if I remembered a staff member. She explained that he was shifted from one home to another to conceal his abusing and that she had witnessed it in his files at The Town Council. Like me the memory of this man stuck in her mind. And like me she didn’t have the power to do anything at the time. The Jimmy Saville case alerted her feelings of guilt. No record of the home exists online except where I’d referred to it in passing. The member of staff’s name in those files was the same as the one who’d abused the boy thirty years ago.
Today I received a message from an unconnected friend: Wigan Today reports Scout leader in sex ring quiz, The Leigh reporter Sex case suspect is scout volunteer and The Daily mail Pensioner 70 arrested for abuse. The same man. The papers mainly omit any mention of his near twenty years working in the children’s homes of Wigan Council except the daily mail who quote his description from a social networking site as “deputy superintendent’ at a children’s home between August 1979 and December 1997′. He was at Woodfields children’s home and Oaklands. John Harding (or Jon Harding) an avid Manchester City supporter who liked his beer was head of both homes and took him from one to the other. Would it be fair to ask Wigan Social Services what action they feel should be taken in light of these present allegations on a staff member who worked for them for a near quarter of a century? And would they investigate the question of who concealed information within Wigan Council whilst moving the aforementioned?
Full Disclosure: Wigan Council were my legal parents for seventeen and an half years. I return to Wigan, as a writer, down that long road to Wigan Pier at Wigan Literature Festival on 8th April. I’ll see you there I hope. Top left photo: Rankin