The Orphan

A woman is found unconscious in the street with a severe head wound; she is also pregnant.
The woman gives birth to a son but later dies- her dying words was the Name Robin McNally- Police sergeant Bob Cole is out to get McNally a petty thief for murder but he manages to get off in court. The grand parents of the woman bring up the boy as their own. Jackie Boyle has an unusual talent- he has the ability to remember everything he see's. he can read a book in minutes and remember every word. Jackie watches his Grand Mother who he calls mam cooking and when she dies of a stroke is forced to cook and clean so that his father who is really his Grandfather; can go to work down the pit at Battlehill Colliery. The five year old does this until his father is killed in the pit rescuing his friends- Jackie is sent to Oakridge Children's Home where he suffered at the hands of the Matron and the nuns strict regime. The Orphan is a fast paced story that will leave you wanting to read more.


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Breakfast after mass consisted of a watered down porridge with one slice of stale bread with a scraping of margarine.

At eight o’clock the day began with lessons.

There was nothing that the school could teach Jackie apart from the corporal punishment that was meted out on a regular basis. If you did no wrong they would find something in which to punish you for. Like your hair not combed right, dirty hands or ears.

The controlling and punitive attitude of those in charge was no better than the Nazi’s during WW2.

Boys who had supposedly had done wrong were held in a headlock by one of the other boys whilst the teacher stood back with his cane then sprinted towards the child bent over. The nun or teacher would then jump in the air and then bring the cane crashing down on the child over and over.

After lesson’s which was either bible studies or poetry; everyone made their way to the dining hall again the nuns would look for an excuse to punish someone so he would get no lunch.

The lack of food made the children look as grey as their clothing. They would become withdrawn and they would come down with illness due to starvation. The lack of nutrition left them open to diseases like tuberculosis, diphtheria, pneumonia, and rickets. Many children died because they just lost the will to live.

They were starved of affection and many became so institutionalised that when anyone came to adopt them they were afraid to go. Many of them were again abused either physically or sexually by those who had adopted them. Those who escaped lived by stealth on the streets and lead a life of crime in order to survive.

It was inevitable that some would end up in jail.


The first month that Mike and Maureen came to see Jackie the nuns had put on the clothes that he came in. He was warned not to speak of the home to them or he would be severely dealt with.

“When Mike and Maureen saw Jackie they saw a change in him; he was withdrawn; he looked as though a gust of wind would blow him over. They sat on the bench outside where Sister Mary and Sister Jane would be watching Jackie’s every move.

“Is everything alright here Jackie son?

“Yes Mr Langley.

“Do you like it here?

“Jackie looked across at the two nuns’ then back towards Mr Langley before replying.

 “Its fine here Mr Langley honestly.

“The two nuns smiled.

Excuse me Sisters we are just going to have a walk around the grounds.

“We will show you around.”

“It’s fine we will find our own way around.”

“As you wish but tea will be served shortly and everyone has to go to the dinning room.

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