I was shocked and saddened to hear of a vicious and brutal attack on Mr Booth on Wednesday 22nd November (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-42126107).
The location, whilst not reported was instantly recognisable to me as Gypsy Lane, the location where my brother lost his life to a vicious and unprovoked attack of violence in 2005.
I had the privaledge of meeting Mr Booth when we were thinking of making our film, ‘Lloyd’s Story’ which now forms the core of all of our effective violence prevention work.
I remember well going from door to door along Gypsy Lane as we wanted to carry out the filming in the location where the incident took place. The more doors we knocked on and the more people I spoke with the more depressed and disheartened I felt. We were met with people saying ‘no, as it will devalue our house prices’, ‘no it will upset my mum’ (who didnt live in the location at the time), ‘no, and by the way the memorial stone you have placed at the bottom of the road is ugly and looks like a tombe stone and should be removed’, amongst many other very hard to hear comments. I was with a supportive friend, a local reverend who was absolutely apauled and shocked at the comments and couldnt believe what he was hearing. Others were indifferent and didnt seem keen on the idea but were prepared to give their blessing.
Only two people on that street were supportive. One young couple who kindly offered for us to use their power, water and toliets on the night and the other, Mr Booth who invited me in for a drink and had a long chat about the incident and our idea to create the film. He thought it was a great idea and a very positive step from such a mindless act of violence and tragedy in the community. I remember feeling completely uplifted by his supportive and kind comments and after a day of negativity and quite frankly rude and emotionally unitellegent comments to myself barely a year after Lloyd lost his life, it was very much appreciated and I felt touched by the kindness.
A kind and extraordinary man who was anti-violence and supportive of any steps we could take to prevent its reoccurance was now a victim of another vicious attack in the same area and in his own home. It was heartbreaking and shocking to see on the news.
My thoughts and best wishes are with Mr Booth and his family and I wish him a speedy recovery.