Tuesday, 13 March 2012

"I didn't think I'd ever recover"

In February 1964, Angela Patrick was a happy, carefree 19 year-old living outside London, working in the city, and having fun with her girlfriends. One Saturday night in Essex, she did what most teenagers that age do – went to a party, got a bit merry, and slept with her new boyfriend.

The consequences of that night are still being felt by Angela and her loved-ones nearly 50 years later. She found herself pregnant, and was forced to do something almost unimaginable – give up her baby son for adoption.

We met a few weeks ago over coffee in the National Gallery and she told me her story, published in yesterday's Guardian. Nearly 50 years on, re-telling it still makes her cry. She was beautiful – less polished than above, pictured left with her daughter – intelligent and warm.

What impressed me most is how she survived her ordeal and went on to live a happy life. And how one tiny event can affect you for life. For once, the platitude "what doesn't kill us..." seems apt.

Photograph: Sarah Lee

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