This is a true story, written by Opelaccent. It happened in the late 1970’s in a large Lancashire mill town ……
The wind was howling. It was a lazy wind that went straight through you. Autumn winds in Lancashire can be cruel. I was glad I was in my warm flat. The phone had been quiet all evening. It was now ten past midnight and the street lights were illuminating the children’s play ground many floors down. I was the manager of the complex of 18 high rise flats, and had locked the swings at dusk. We had 5 playgrounds within the complex, but I had an uneasy feeling that something was not right. I looked out of the window again to see the wind was playing with two black bags that were twisting and sailing up towards the top of the high rise opposite me.
I could see some people along the walkway who looked as though they had had a few drinks as they were helping each other to walk. I smiled at the scene and thought to myself “there but for the grace of God go I”. I found myself laughing, and then I spotted four figures ducking and diving in and out of the shadows. I saw a flash and then heard a bang almost like a car backfiring. The figures disappeared and as if by magic my phone began to ring. I answered it and an old lady whose voice I recognised said “Alan, someone has shot a hole through my front door!!!” I asked if she was ok and what damage had been done and was her husband by her side. There was a silence. I didn’t wait for my caller to answer. I said “I am on my way when I have phoned the Police” and hung up. My wife was now used to late night panic callers.
I quickly changed out of my work clothes, and put on my pyjamas and dressing gown, over my underwear. At times you have to look the part of a defenceless person. I got the express lift and was soon walking across to where Mrs Fredrick lived. I could see a large hole in the bottom of her front door. She was a lovely old lady who had seen life; her husband, an ex miner and was like a terrier, frightened of nothing, had disappeared into the night chasing the men who had put a hole in his door. “He’s there” shouted Mrs Fredrick pointing towards the playground.
I looked over to the swings to see poor Mr Fredrick being hit on the head with the butt of a 12 bore shotgun. He fell to the ground unconscious. My first thought was “You little shits.” I walked over to these four gun toting lads. I was angry that they had knocked Mr Fredrick to the ground; for goodness sake, the poor man was in his late seventies. I said nothing to them; I picked up Mr Fredrick who was a dead weight, but I managed to get him over my shoulder in a fireman’s lift and carried him to safety, putting him on his bed and leaving his wife to call the ambulance.
I went back to the lads and asked what we had done to deserve this. The leader of the gang said nothing, but put his shotgun to my head and I heard him cock the gun. I didn’t think anything but I looked him in the eye. I took hold of the gun’s barrel and pushed it slowly down to the ground, still staring him in the eye as I did it. I jerked the gun downwards both barrels of the gun discharged into the soft grass of the play area. As the gun went off I hit my adversary on the side of his neck with a disabling blow. He collapsed to the ground gurgling then fell silent. I was now in even bigger trouble as the other three also had shotguns under their over coats and they were now pointing at me. I held out my hand for the guns and shouted at the top of my voice “Give me the f*****g guns now or I will give you a big slapping”. I know; stupid or what, but it worked. I was handed the guns so I opened each one and ejected the cartridges. The lad on the floor was coming round and began calling me all the nasty names he could think of. I snapped and hit him with a gentle tap on the back of his neck. He dropped back down and was silent.
I was surprised as most of the tenants from the four tower blocks overlooking the play area, were stood on their verandas cheering me and clapping; then, just as all the commotion was over, the police turned up. I was arrested along with the louts with guns, as I was now holding all the weapons. The four lads all decided to file charges against me and I was held overnight and released the next morning having had all charges dropped. Over 20 tenants had made statements to the effect that had I not intervened more people could and most probably would have been hurt.
Mr Fredrick came home two days later from hospital and asked me to come to his home. I had had the door repaired the morning I was realised from the police cells. Mr Frederick still had a big bruise on his forehead and now looked very old. The ordeal had taken its toll on him. I gave him a hug and he returned it 20 fold. He asked if he could give me something. I smiled at this lovely hard ex miner and asked him what he was up to. He grinned and said would I accept a token of his gratitude. I protested saying I was only doing my job. “Bollocks” he said “I’ve been through both wars and I know bravery when I see it”, and handed me a twenty pound note. I looked at it then looked over to his wife who was nodding “Yes, please take it”. I said to him I would take it on the one condition that we put the money behind the bar at the Miners club and the four of us could have a night out. He grabbed hold of my hand and said “Done”, but what I didn’t know was he and his wife had been very busy and tracked down all those that had been instrumental in my release from the police cells and had invited them as well. The twenty pound note was not used that night as all mine and Mr and Mrs Fredrick’s drinks and food was paid for by the tenants. The twenty pound note was given to the miners’ fund.
Mr Fredrick’s died 3 months later. He never fully recovered. Mrs Fredrick’s followed him 2 months after that dying from a broken heart.
Why had the youths come with guns to “my complex?” …. Because apparently they had been rabbit shooting and got bored or so they said….
Written by: Opelaccent
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