T is for Thomas : A to Z of Family Rights and Family Lives
Thomas was the much loved brother of Charlotte, Becky and Katie, and the adored son of Paula. Thomas’s story has touched the hearts of many of us across the country as well as followers from abroad. The IAM Thomas campaign has been set up to spread the word of what happened and to share his story so that the barbarism and dehumanisation of our children and our children’s children stops RIGHT NOW. Thomas was a young man with a wicked sense of humour, who enjoyed life and loved being with his family. His death was needless, preventable, tragic due to him being misunderstood, his care being mismanaged and his family not listened to.
His quality of life was taken away through no fault of his own, he was abused through no fault of his own and our concerns around his horrendous treatment since he was 17 years old and sometimes before should not have been ignored, dismissed, hidden and covered up.
It’s carrying on and I want all these people to know I’m not going away, no matter how tough the days are to get through and somehow I will let the whole world know the terrible memories they have left me with and the torture my poor little boy suffered in the run up to his death and how little they listened or cared.
Thomas Rawnsley was a person, a beautiful person full of compassion and empathy who deserved the same in return!!!
Thomas Rawnsley was and still is VERY IMPORTANT !!!!!
– Paula Rawnsley –
T is for Twenty First birthday
Twenty first birthdays are a real celebration. A time of coming together with friends and family, parties organised, dinners with champagne, going out to the night club and getting drunk, a weekend away, or just a quiet time with those who are close.
Twenty firsts as a parent are a sigh of relief! We have got over the teens and survived, we have done more than our fair share of being a taxi service, an endless hole in the wall, cook and bottle-washer. For us parents of disabled children every birthday is a milestone, but there is something about the 21st birthday that is a real time of reflection of achievements, trials and tribulations, hurdles and challenges, and the journey we have been on.
“I’m sending a card today to Thomas”
Thomas would be 21 in a month’s time. Instead of looking forward to that same life, Thomas is receiving his cards posthumously. He died living away from home, in care. We do not know what led up to his death. We know he was so very unhappy living away from home. He pleaded himself to talk to the Judge. There were some in that meeting, in a position of power and control, who still did not see why he should do that.
It feels very grim sending the card to Thomas. I could not bring myself to send a happy, jolly, humorous card like I normally would do.
Thomas card is a card of lost future, lost time while he was away, mourning, grief and utter sadness”
Thomas was going to be 21 on June 7th. This will be an incredibly difficult and emotional day for his family. We are asking you too to please write a birthday card within the next two weeks. Send your thoughts and love in a card to respect of what should have been a time of parties and celebrations. Please send cards to:
C/O Blossom Centre
10 Rounton Road
T is for tragedy.
Thomas’s death was tragic. Each one of us, whether we are parents or professionals, can relate to the fears that Paula had over many months. She felt strongly and clearly articulated the fact that Thomas was at great risk and unsafe. He had already been abused in one institution. It was tragic that he ended up in an unjust system ruled and run by services who are more interested in £s and the money our children bring in rather than providing them the best care and support they deserve.
Paula writes “I’m so angry today and can’t really say why as I’m unsure what can and can’t affect the inquest but I want the whole world to know my beautiful, amazing, funny, brave and complex boy was bloody important and he is still important!!!T is for Truth – it may very likely take a long time but the truth will be told. Have faith and hope in that justice will prevail. Those that are to be blamed will be named and shamed.
T is for Tearful – Heavily burdened with guilt, fear, anger, resentment, frustrations and immense sadness. It seems to be forever and no light at the end of the tunnel. Some of us cry alone, deeply entrenched in our own never ending emotions. Some may be fortunate in having a shoulder to cry on or even better, someone to cuddle, and feel safe and warm with. Just being there, quietly supporting, listening and being non-judgemental.
T is for Together – Solidarity and coming together to make our voices stronger. Campaigning, sharing our stories, training for families, workshops, meetings, social media, conferences and networking. Anything that brings us together brings us one step closer to making a difference. There is power in numbers and providing a place for people to share their experiences and learning from one another.
Please share this post to get the Thomas’s story told.
Debs is one of the co-founders and Directors of Bringing Us Together. She is mum to three child with a variety of SEND and has a great husband.