Tony Diamond: Born on September 2nd 1949, I came into this world kicking and screaming
and christened as Anthony Roy Bates. The result of a night of fun and unwanted from
the word go, the man I knew as my father left my mother and my 3 brothers to fend
My real father, who only lived 2 doors away, proposed to my Mum. We followed him
up north while he did his National Service. This was short lived, leaving her to
fend for herself once again. Upon arrival back in Brighton from Derby, my brother
and I were put into care and up for adoption, only to return home 2 years later and
be introduced to our new brother James Alan, born on 2nd September 1953, who she
then had adopted followed by one of my sisters who she decided to keep and then my
twin sisters, Janet and Valerie, who she also placed up for adoption.
I suffered mental and physical abuse at the hands of people who were supposed to
care for me, but back in the 50’s this was what life was like for me and many others
and with my un-diagnosed learning difficulties it was made even worse.
At the age of 15 I was officially signed over to Dr Barnardo’s and sent to work as
on a farm in the Australian outback.
After 3 weeks of heat, hard work and desperately home sick, I ran away, and after
drifting from job to job, managed to stow away on a ship destined for England. I
was, of course, discovered and dragged above deck to be arrested formally at the
first port of call, New Zealand. After being deported from New Zealand and arriving
back in England, just about surviving my exploits abroad, I was still only 16 years
old. Hoping to be reconciled with my family, despite their history towards me, I
was thrown out onto the streets. A lot wiser and tougher by now, I survived, fending
for myself and in July of 1966 I met my wife Linda. We celebrated the birth of our
daughter, Pauline, after our wedding in 1967. I was finally part of a proper family.
In the following years, I decided to change my surname, for many reasons, some of
which you can probably guess. Linda, Pauline and I lived in not only England but
Australia as well, during which time I had 97 jobs and was involved with 18 business
ventures, some more lucrative than others! We finally settled on the South Coast
of England and it was in 1996 that I began to put pen to paper and write about my
life and its experiences.
As my family grew, we decided to take an extended holiday to Australia after my daughters
wedding. We rented an apartment in Adelaide and shortly after we arrived got chatting
to one of the neighbours Derek. In a stroke of coincidence it turned out that Derek’s
father was also my sisters father!
Despite my tough up-bringing, colourful life and subsequent medical problems, Linda
and I remain married and settled in Brighton. We now return regularly to stay with
our Australian leg of the family and have formed a close relationship with each other,
Australia is a home away from home – un-like the first time. I have finished writing
my book called Pebble on the Beach charting my early childhood, and am in the process
of completing the next instalment.
Although life’s highway can prove to have some bumps along the way, what I and my
fellow Dyslexics have learnt is to no longer see problems only solutions.