"Over sixty years ago, I incurred a serious traffic accident and as a result was unable to walk for three years. During this period, I would look out from the back bedroom window of our council house and would see the landmark of 'Castle Hill' on the outskirts of Huddersfield on the horizon; some ten miles away. I promised myself that one day I would cycle there and back.
When eventually I got feeling back in the lower part of my body, my prospects for someday walking again became a closer reality once more.
Unable to walk, I nevertheless tried to ride my bicycle, but being unable to bend one leg more than 40 degrees and the other not at all, this proved to be a virtually impossible task. My father converted my bicycle to one with a fixed gear motion (ie the pedals would only turn forwards). This enabled me to pedal the bicycle with the aid of one leg only, turning the pedals half a rotation and giving them enough impetus to complete the 360 degrees.
Each day I was placed on my bicycle and set off for 'Castle Hill'. I would manage to get a few hundred yards before needing to come to a stop; at which point I would fall off the bicycle. Each time I fell off, I would simply lie there until someone passed by who was strong enough to pick me up and place me back in the saddle. Within a matter of months, I essentially learned to master the art of a trick cyclist and was able to stand the bicycle motionless for minutes without falling off.
It took me over four weeks before I managed to cycle a quarter of a mile off the estate before falling off and being returned home by some kind neighbour, bobby or passer by. I was always bruised, but never battered by my efforts. My mother, bless her, allowed me to continue in my efforts in spite of any daily added injuries.
It took me two years to the day for me to cycle to the bottom of 'Castle Hill' and to return home under my own steam with the aid of one leg that was now capable of turning 90 degrees. I remember that day well as I cried my eyes out on the whole of the return journey.
'Castle Hill' became such an important place in my life that I felt obliged to include it in one my first and most famous children's books ,'Douglas the Dragon' twenty five years ago. The book was so well received that even the late Princess Diane used to read it to her young sons William and Harry at their bedtime. In the book 'Castle Hill' is called, 'The Angry Hill' and only through climbing it can the angry dragon vanquish his highest fears and restore love into his life.
When I was crippled as a young boy and was told that I'd never walk again I was very angry with life. For a while I lost sight of all the love in my life, the love of my parents, family and friends who'd never stopped rooting for me in my moments of need. I eventually stopped loving others, loving life and loving myself through the fear of lifelong immobility.
One evening I gazed out of my bedroom window and seeing 'Castle Hill' in the skyline, I made it my goal to one day get there under my own steam.This famous local landmark represented the hill upon which I would lose all the anger inside me once I climbed up it and would find love in my body once more once I reached its top.
Over twenty years later as a young Probation Officer, after years of research, I stumbled upon a buried truth which had helped me so much in my childhood years when I'd been left angry with life. I realised that most of the habitual offenders I worked with was unable to love themselves or express love towards others because they had a heart filled with anger that was destructive and a fear level that immobilised them. This realisation and memory of my past experience was to lead me towards establishing the very first 'Anger Management Groups' in Europe, which later mushroomed across the English speaking world.
I have often thought that if I'd never looked out of my bedroom window towards the horizon and determined myself to one day get there, the process of 'Anger Management' would never have been founded by me, practised by thousands of others and benefited by millions ever since.
There are two dragons that strive to live inside the heart of every man, woman and child; the 'Dragon of Anger' and the 'Dragon of Love', but it is impossible for the two dragons to co-exist. We express the very nature of the dragon our heart houses through our thoughts, words and deeds; be they ones of anger or ones of love. There is only one way to banish the force of 'anger' from inside us and that is to put 'love' there instead! The method is as simple as that. The message is unequivocal; 'love is a greater power than anger, and where anger is powerful enough to destroy any mountain with its volcanic force, love is the only living force that is capable of moving it!'
The National Lottery funded turning the 'Douglas Dragon' stories into a musical play during the New Millennium because of my association with the advancement of 'Anger Management'. That play and all of its original songs can be freely accessed on my website http://www.fordefables.co.uk/douglas-the-dragon.html along with the four 'Douglas the Dragon' stories that have been professionally recorded for audio transmission. By the end of this week, an omnibus edition of the four 'Douglas the Dragon' stories will be re-published in hard copy and will be available from www.lulu.com, amazon and all reputable book publishers." William Forde: October 1st, 2014.