A Belated Happy New Year 2009
A big thank you to everyone who sent Christmas Cards, it's always great to hear from you but at Christmas even more so, again thank you for letting me know that I am not forgotten about.
2009 has not got off to the best of starts (I'll write about the reasons at a later date) but it started to turn around for me at the begining of February with a visit from close friends Tony and Shell who where here on their honeymoon but took time out - in fact three days - to visit me. It was just what I needed and it was great to catch up with things that have happened at home. Over the last four years I have learnt who my true friend's are, I'd just like to say a big thank you to you all, in fact to everyone who takes the time to write either by letter, e-mail or Facebook message. Every week when my mail arrives I can always be seen with a great big smile :)
As I have said it was not a great start to the year, I've changed buildings and now live on Building 3. Also my visiting days have changed to Monday and Wednesday. Building 3 is known within Bangkwang as the 'poor' building or the 'building of forgotten people'. Many have been here for a very long time and over the years have been forgotten by their family and friend's for one reason or another. They may be forgotten but their kindness has knocked me back. When you come into a Thai prison you are not provided with anything, I've been here now for four years and not once have been given so much as a spoon or blanket and it's the same when you move building. I was not allowed to bring much with me - only what I could carry - so my bed (blankets sawn together) etc couldn't come with me and I had to start all over again. This is where the kindness comes in, as soon as I arrived in Building 3 I was met by two lads, one from Wales and one from Kazakhstan. I was soon to learn that they were the only two other white faces I would see in Building 3 unlike Building 6 where there are many from all around the world. I've often spoken about a good friend I met when I first arrived in Bangkwang, Steve Willcox who has returned to England, and how hard it is to find good friend's in here, well I think I have found two good, honest friend's in Neil and Dmitiv. Both of them have little support but as soon as I arrived here they welcomed me into their home and shared what little food they had until my money had follwed me to my new building. They don't get visits or mail, Neil's parents are in their seventies and Dmitiv is from a poor family in Kazakhstan. He was very young when arrested but has had to grow up fast in here, he's going to be here for a very long time and he knows this but he's a very kind lad and can always be seen with a smile on his face ... a little like me. He's not had a single visit whilst here, his family just can't afford it and no one knows about him. This I'd like to change if I could. If any of you could write, or visit whilst in Bangkok, either of these lads you'd be making a big difference to their lives.
Let me tell you a little about my two new friend's:
Neil is forty four and was arrested in Pattaya. He's from Newport, Wales and is serving a twenty year sentence for a drugs offence.
Dmitiv is twenty four and is serving a life sentence. He is from Kazakhstan and was arrested in Chang Rai at the age of twenty. He's in a bad position as Kazakhstan doesn't have a transfer treaty with Thailand so if something doesn't happen he will serve at least twenty years in a Thai prison.
This is a big year for me, I hope to be transfered to a prison in the UK where I'll be able to sleep in a real bed!! I'm just waiting for the paperwork to be finished but I'd like to think I'll be home for Christmas which would be great news for my family as well as myself.
I've got my Contact Visits coming up in April, I only get two per year and can't put into words what it is like to get a hug. Seana was always coming over for them but this week I've heard the best news ever - my Mum and Step Dad are also coming!! I've not hugged my Mum for over two years, you don't always miss something until it's gone and a hug from my Mum I've missed the most so to know that I will be able to hug her and John as well as Seana has put me on cloud nine.
One of the biggest things to happen is that my friend Steve Willcox is having his case heard at the High Court in London - www.steveatbangkwang.bravehost.com - Steve like myself was not found in possession of a great amount of drugs but was given a thirty year sentence here. He's asking the court how someone can return to the UK with a Life Sentence and within a few months be released whereas someone returning with a fixed amount of years, which the Thai court says is a lesser sentence, has to serve the remainder of their sentence!! In here there are many talkers about the rights and wrongs of this situation which we find ourselves in but Steve is the only one who's trying to do something about it. The case is to be heard at the High Court in London on 23rd April at 10.30am. If anyone would like to show their support I know that Steve would welcome it. If Steve wins there is a chance we will all win but we are trying not to build our hopes up too much. It will be interesting to hear what the Court has to say about it all though.
As you can see things are picking up for me this year and I have plenty to look forward to.
Thanks again to everyone who takes the time to write, visit and sign my Online Petition, you really have made the last four years a lot easier for me, please keep it up.
PS: Please send Good Luck cards and messages to Steve, who also now has a Facebook profile page, and please let us all pray for a positive result.
Steve Willcox can be contacted at:
Wa 915, HMP Rye Hill, Willoughby, Nr RUGBY, CU23 8SZ, UK
Copyright Scott Hurford 2009 - All Rights Reserved