Have you got a story about the ultimate act of forgiveness? If so we’d love to hear from you.
Magazine and Newspaper editors are always interested in an eye catching forgiveness story. People think that papers and magazines only print stories of doom and gloom but it’s not true, publications love hearing a heartwarming story. If you’re not sure, we are more than happy to let you know how much your story is worth before you decide whether to go ahead and publish it.
When Gordon Bird, 71, and his wife Jenny, 69, contacted us about their story we were instantly moved, and new a number of publications wanted to run it.
For years the pair dreamed about retirement and worked hard so they could live the ‘good life’ in old age. They ran two successful shops in Gloucestershire, which they hoped to one day sell to fund their retirement and enjoy holidays around the world. But they were unaware that for three years, their grandson, Ryan, now 24, was stealing from beneath their noses to feed his secret £1,000-a-week heroin addiction and his actions would leave them penniless.
In total, he stole over £100,000 from the tills in their stationary shop and stole expensive stock too. The pensioners were forced to sell their £200,000 house to pay off debt and stay afloat and now live in renting accommodation. Heartbreakingly, they’re now relying on housing benefits, state pension and have a bankruptcy order to pay back too.
They agree their grandson has ruined their life, but in an act of incredible forgiveness, they’ve stood by Ryan – who they shopped to the police after he burgled their own shop. He was arrested and charged, and found guilty, but didn’t receive a custodial sentence.
A few years later, in 2008, he was jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of drug dealing. During incarceration Ryan, now 26, turned his life around and is now a bin man.
He wrote to his grandparents every week telling them how sorry he was. His grandparents visited him once in prison and Ryan confessed to the full extent of his crimes. Still, it was too late for them, and they were forced to close their business in 2011, and sell their house to release equity to deal with debt left behind.
They were in thousands of debt on credit cards, and they’d relied on them to stay afloat. But they couldn’t pay off the £40k debt and received the IVA bankruptcy order around this time. For many grandparents, this would have been the end to their relationship but they decided to stick by Ryan when he came out of prison.
Ryan is deeply ashamed of his actions and tries his best to treat his grandparents when he can. He says he was so high on drugs that he doesn’t remember robbing them, although he knows he did it. Ryan admitted that he stole over £100,000 over the course of three years to bankroll his £1,000 a week heroin addict. But incredibly his grandparents, who have lost everything, have stood by him. Even though extended family believe they should turn his back on him. ‘Although our grandson has done this to us we accept he was a different person then. He is trying to turn his life around, and with all our help and our forgiveness hopefully he will get there.’
We placed Gordon and Jenny’s heartbreaking story with Femail (The Daily Mail Newspaper’s Female section) and we are now in the process of securing them a TV and magazine deal. If you’d like to share your story, please complete the form on the right hand side of this page. One of our friendly and professional features writers will respond to you and let you know how much your story is worth.
You can also email us directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on: 0844 963 2475