DEPUTY LEADER TO STAND DOWN Waltham Forest Guardian May 5, 1989

Round Robin 2003.
Bill Dennis

For the first time ever we have decided to write a standard letter to all of our friends and relatives as so much has happened to us over the last 18 months and many of you will not know of all of these happenings. We know it may be a little formal and impersonal but it is the easiest way to communicate to a lot of people in a lot of places!

We are all still living in West Yorkshire and are happy in our house-, which we are, very slowly, repairing and redecorating. We have settled into West Yorkshire and do not regret our move out of London- though we miss London and particularly our many friends and relations there. Jackie is sorting out our big garden and Bill sometimes cuts the lawn!

Joe, who is now 6, was causing both his nursery teachers and ourselves concern at the beginning of last year and after intensive tests and observations he was confirmed as being autistic or more accurately "on the autistic spectrum" during June 2001. The diagnosis was not a surprise as we had worked out ourselves that Joe had some difficulties some months before. He is on the able end of the spectrum, attends an ordinary school, is learning to read and write, can count and add up and is keeping up with other children in his class. His difficulty is with communicating with others and he has a tendency to constantly repeat what others have said.

He does get some extra help at school but at the moment he cannot get a Special Educational Statement" as he is doing so well with his schoolwork. He may have "Asberger's Syndrome" which is a condition closely related to autism though this has not been diagnosed. He is a lovely boy and tries very hard at home and school to learn and loves all the things that other 6-year-old boys enjoy. We are learning about his condition all the time and we understand that as the years go by he may- or may not- have more difficulties as other children of his age develop in ways that he will find confusing. Eddie is now 3, attends a local nursery and is a typical 3-year-old full of fun and devilment and the two boys play and fight like all brothers.

At the beginning of the year Bill's beloved father died at the age of 88. He had not been in good health during the last 12 months and had become more and more frail as he got older. He got cancer at the end of 2001 though the Doctors thought it was not of an aggressive type. He was home at Christmas and had a good one but fell and broke his leg in January and this seemed to knock the fight out of him. He had a wonderful life and was still driving to London in his 80's and remained mentally sharp and interested in ideas till the very end. His funeral on St. Valentine's Day was obviously an extremely sad and difficult time for us but it was also a tribute to his life.

Bill got a new job in July 2001 working for "Safe Haven Yorkshire" housing and supporting asylum seekers and find it stimulating and rewarding but very hard work. Clients come from all over the world and many have come from appalling conditions and have suffered appalling treatment. He is also continuing to assist his old Member of Parliament with advice surgeries and travels to London every few weeks to do this. This is also hard work but makes a bit of a change and means we are able to keep in touch with old friends in London.

Jackie had done lots of sessional work in Huddersfield after moving up here but had not found a permanent job till she became assistant College Librarian at Huddersfield Technical College in October 2001. Early this year the Librarian took early retirement and so Jackie "acted up" in the role for a few months and then got the job on a permanent basis in September of this year. This job is also hard work but it is stimulating and often rewarding and she works term time only and so is at home during the childrens' schools holidays.

In November Bill reached the Big 50 and so we had a fireworks party for the family and a few friends and this proved to be an extremely happy family occasion after the sad one in February. It was also nice to see a few people we had not seen for a long time and as many of our new friends also came it was a great evening. The family bought Bill a day trip to Lords Cricket Ground, which includes a guided tour, then a little coaching before playing a few shots on the hallowed turf with Mike Gatting. He is really looking forward to the day at Lords, which he hopes will be in May.

Jackie's Mother, Brother and Auntie are staying with us for Christmas and we are looking forward to seeing them all and celebrating the season together. We will conclude by wishing you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Love and best wishes,

Bill, Jackie, Joe and Eddie.

PS: Please note our new Post Code and E-Mail address..

Letter 2007.