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Retford Times interview with Mr Terry Lodge

The Retford Times has now published its interview with Mr Terry Lodge. I have published it below in full. The story can be read here: http://www.retfordtimes.co.uk/Foster-care-abuse-claims-believe/story-28379448-detail/story.html#ixzz3ugFnAZ9p

Forced to work as a child slave, beaten with a stair rod and starved, a Bassetlaw man has found the courage to recount the abject horror of his time in a north Notts foster home.

The conditions and treatment Terry Lodge claims he was subject to sound like a 19th century Dickensian nightmare – but it happened in the late 1960s and early 70s.

He alleges he was clearing out pig pens on a farm at the tender age of eight before being made to carry out back-breaking work for 72 hours a week in a foundry at 11 and did not see a penny for his troubles.

Brave Terry says he told police, social workers and teachers at the time but claims he was ignored by everyone.

Now, after building up the courage to once again tell his harrowing story at the age of 55, he is demanding an apology from social service bosses and asking for the opportunity to learn how to read and write – something he says he was denied under the oppressive regime of his foster parents.

Speaking to the Retford Times, he said: "I remember celebrating my eighth birthday at a children's home before my bags were packed to be sent to a foster home.

"The moment I arrived I was put to work.

"I was made to get up at 4am to do the housework. I'd have to sweep out the coal fire and clear all the dust, otherwise they'd give you a good hiding with a stair rod. My foster mother would beat you for anything; around your head and your back.

"I started working at a small farm when I was eight as soon as I finished school at 4.30pm until 7pm, clearing out pig pens. It was all day on Saturday and sometimes Sunday too.

"And when I was about 11, I was sent to work at the foundry – sweeping, fetching scrap and holding to pot when it was being poured. That was from 5pm after school to 8pm or 9pm every day and all day at weekends.

"I was given a pay packet every week but I had to hand it straight over to my foster mother. I would never have dared to keep any of it because she would make sure you didn't eat, she did that regularly."

While Terry was suffering his horrendous ordeal, he says his foster parents, who have both since died, were driving about in expensive cars.

Terry said he told his social worker about what had happened but claims his pleas were ignored.

And when he made the courageous move to run away from the house and go to the police to report the crimes against him, he claims he was driven straight back.

He also tried to confide in a teacher at his school, only to be told: 'Don't be so daft'.

"No one believed me," he said.

"My foster mother would tell anyone who questioned her about it that I was a liar, a thief and a rogue or scum of the earth, as she liked to call me.

"I had a bad stammer and when I was made to recount the alphabet I couldn't get passed 'f' and she would beat me with a stair rod."

His terrifying childhood plight has clouded the rest of his life and affected his health.

"I don't want any money or compensation, I just want an apology and chance to learn how to read and write."

The case came to light after Terry approached Bassetlaw MP John Mann, who has campaigned for a full inquiry into abuse in Notts.

He said: "Mr Lodge has bravely come forward to share his experience of abuse and he is due an apology from those who failed to help him at the time.

"It shows the level of depravity that was there.

"I have raised his case in Parliament and will continue to support anyone who has suffered from similar experiences.

"For too long a blind eye was turned to abused children – the victims deserve justice."

Steve Edwards, the authority's service director for children's social care, said: "We take all of Mr Lodge's allegations very seriously and have allocated him a social worker so that we can listen to him and better understand his childhood.

"Mr Lodge's social worker continues to work closely with him. We have also put in place a number of adult literacy sessions to support Mr Lodge. Investigating Mr Lodge's allegations is complex and takes time as they date back some 40 years to when Mr Lodge was in care."

Notts County Council say they are working to meet Terry's requests for help with reading and writing and that he has as already attended five literacy lessons with another 15 organised.

A Nottinghamshire Police spokesperson said: "We have made aware of the situation by Mr Mann and we have requested and are awaiting further information in order to begin an investigation."

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