Posts Tagged ‘Wilma Mccann’
How easy do you find it to forgive?
This post was written by Ellee Seymour on 18th August 2010
I met Richard McCann this evening and, like the entire audience at The Inspired Group , sat mesmerised as he told us his devastating life story and described how he had overcome one major personal catastrophe after another. Being born with ginger hair was another one of life’s challenge he was forced to face, he joked with us to lighten the mood as his story was dark and haunting.
The colour of his hair certainly paled into insignificance compared to the trauma of being the young son of Wilma McCann , the first of 13 women murdered by the Yorkshire Ripper in 1975, a week before his sixth birthday. A fairly horrendous life followed which forced Richard to lie about the true nature of his mother’s death to Army comrades, culminating with a spell in jail as a drugs dealer, and a desperate struggle to get back on his feet after his release so he would not lose his home.
The theme of Richard’s motivational “I can” speech, which he gives around the country in schools, prisons and to business groups, is to make us believe that even the worst situations in life can have positive outcomes if you focus on them, rather than the negative. He wants to inspire people and give them self-belief – and counsels others who have lost loved ones in violent situations – using his early wretched life with a brutal father and his unhappy experiences as an example of this.
His dramatic life story and how he coped with his personal tragedies has been described in his moving best seller, “Just A Boy: The True Story of a Stolen Childhood.” Thankfully, the story has a happy ending as Richard is now blissfully married to a midwife with three adorable ginger haired kids! But that is not the end of the story.
I sense that his real happiness came from being able to forgive – first of all his father for the misery he caused to his family, and then, most surprisingly, forgiving Peter Sutcliffe for the murder of his mother. This happened after he heard Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak at the Forgiveness Project charity which explores forgiveness, reconciliation and conflict resolution through real-life human experience of which he is patron. Afterwards, Richard managed to catch up with Desmond Tutu before he left and told him that he was now able to forgive Peter Sutcliffe who had stabbed his mother 14 times. The two men hugged, and I imagine there were tears following such a huge release and acknowledgement, something 99% of people in his situation could never do.
Richard is an amazing, powerful speaker. He left us all speechless and humbled. His mum would be so proud.
Do you find it easy to forgive?