I don't cry much. I cried one night when my father punched my mother and I watched him in a gap through our stairs door. ... I cried when I watched Featherstone Rovers beat Hull at Wembley in the Challenge Cup Final in 1983. I cried two years later too, when I saw friends marching back to work at the end of the year-long miners' strike. Bitter tears this time. But when my daughter, Billie, was drowned at the age of nine on a canoeing trip on the River Wye, I didn't cry at first. I was hysterical and crazy with emotion.'
Every parent's worst nightmare became a reality for Ian Clayton. On a short holiday break in Hay-on-Wye he took his nine-year-old twins canoeing, and in a freak accident his daughter Billie was drowned. In a remarkably frank and vivid way Clayton describes what happened on that spring day, his desperate attempts to save his two children, and then what it felt like two years later to come face to face with the men who had hired out the canoe.
But Our Billie is not a story of bitterness and recrimination. Instead Ian Clayton chooses to celebrate the life of his beautiful daughter and honour the former mining community of Featherstone where she grew up - and which gave the Claytons strength to carry on after the accident. This is the story of how a father attempts to come to terms with something which makes no sense at all. A story of loss and remembering, of gratitude and forgiveness.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 07 / 2010
- 128 x 198mm