"The child is both a hope and a promise for mankind." Maria Montessori
These books are dedicated to Jason Evans - son of Helen and Graham and brother to Sophie, Lisa and Rhiannon; and to all the grandchildren (Danny, Ursula, Arthur, Leo, Elias, Ines, Noah, Ludo and Amos).
Jason was born in Penzance, Cornwall, in 1969. As a young boy he was bright, fearless and full of mischief; with a mop of white blonde hair and a cheeky grin. He loved the outdoors, climbing trees and ambushing his sisters. They were lively and happy days.
School, however, was not a happy time. Jason struggled with both the lessons and the teachers who called him lazy and stupid. Even when he was diagnosed with glue ear and severe dyslexia, with no support available at that time, there was no real let up. A time made more difficult when Graham left the Royal Marines and the family hit hard times in the recession of the 80s. Jason left school barely able to read or write, with no qualifications, low self-esteem and a reputation for trouble.
Jason went on to become an excellent builder; a husband and father; and, later, a boxing coach - a true vocation that he both loved and was loved for. He also taught himself to read, with his collection of over 300 books now testament to his intelligence and perseverance.
But the landscape of his teenage and adult years affected him profoundly. Despite repeated attempts to join the Royal Marines, his dyslexia got the better of him; crime and drugs led him astray; his marriage ended in a messy divorce; and alcohol abuse, another source of conflict, led to pancreatitus and diabetes. Ultimately, though his loyalty to family and friends never faltered, Jason’s faith in himself and the world was seriously damaged.
Today Jason is living in a rehabilitation home outside Salisbury, having suffered a seizure that has left him with hypoxic brain damage. He requires one-to-one care around the clock and is very unlikely to be himself or independent again.
In a difficult time of loss and despair, with the dedication of these books to Jason, his family have been able to recapture the happier times of his childhood and confirm their belief in nature as an environment in which all children, particularly those that struggle, can thrive.