We were running.
Running fast (I thought) to the market stall at the entrance gate. Frank’s haunting words in my head, “That honesty box is a mistake Chris, there’s f#cking criminals out there” (he should know, he’s done a bit of time) .
I was yelling, “Oi Oi Oi!” – I have no idea why. The hooded head glanced up, hand snatched from the box and gone.
James and I jumped up onto the hedge bank. Pathetically we watched them flee, pelting down the footpath. We were the victims and I felt helpless.
Slightly embarrassed, I realised I was still clutching a hammer…
It wasn’t a weapon. No, I had been repairing the chicken pen with James when we spotted the hooded figure at the box and ran.
James then disappeared, on his bike in hot pursuit, taking the lower path to cut them off. He did and demanded our money back. They meekly handed over the £1.95 and then went back to school.
I had put the hammer back just before the police arrived…asking if we wanted to press charges (the boys had been up to other stuff locally).
“No” I said, “I would rather the boys came and spoke to the men, heard about LandWorks and understood the importance of our honesty box.”
We were all eating lunch when the car pulled up, two small defiant faces in the back. The cops indicated they should get out, I said hello and the boys bristled indignation at us.
In our building, on LandWorks manor, it must have been terrifying, the boys denied everything.
Then came the older generation’s stories; jail and broken lives, life after prison. Why the money was important, the symbolism of an honesty box, here of all places.
The boys didn’t tell us their stories, about their broken lives, their school for kids excluded from main stream education.
But they did say sorry and they told us their names.
We shook hands.
Important date for the diary
The next LandWorks Supporters’ Day is on:
Friday 18th August 2017
Join us for the annual Supporter’s Day, where you have a chance to meet current and past trainees, see progress at the Quarry Field site, and there will of course be the famous prize draw.
To book a place register on our mailing list by clicking here and keep an eye out for official invites via email nearer the time.