Veronica’s Bird: Thirty-five years inside as a female prison officer Veronica Bird was one of nine children living in a tiny house in Barnsley with a brutal coal miner for a father. Life was a despairing time in the 1950s, as Veronica sought desperately to keep away from his cruelty. Astonishingly, to her and her mother, she won a scholarship to Ackworth Boarding School where she began to shine above her class-mates. A champion in all sports, Veronica at last found some happiness until her brother-in-law came into her life. It was as if she had stepped from the frying pan into the re: he took over control of her life removing her from the school she adored, two terms before she was due to take her GCEs, so he could put her to work as a cheap option on his market stall. Abused for many years by these two men, Veronica eventually ran away and applied to the Prison Service, knowing it was the only safe place she could trust. This is the astonishing, and true story of Veronica Bird who rose to become a Governor of Armley prison. Given a ‘basket case’ in another prison, contrary to all expectations, she turned it around within a year, to become an example for others to match. During her life inside, her ‘bird’, she met many Home Secretaries, was honoured by the Queen and was asked to help improve conditions in Russian Prisons. A deeply poignant story of eventual triumph against a staggeringly high series of setbacks, her story is lled with humour and compassion for those inside. Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Veronicas-Bird-Thirty-five-inside-officer-ebook/dp/B077NXT42X About the authors: After thirty-five years working for the Prison Service, Veronica Bird is now retired and living in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. She is still an active proponent of the justice system and continues to lecture across the country and is a supporter of Butler Trust, which acknowledges excellence within the prison system. A qualified architect and Swiss-trained hotelier, Richard Newman enjoyed a forty-year career designing and managing hotels worldwide before retiring in 2001. Since then he has gone on to publish a number of novels: The Crown of Martyrdom, The Horse that Screamed, The Potato Eaters, The Green Hill, Brief Encounters and most recently The Sunday Times bestseller, A Nun’s Story. He is currently working on a new novel about retirement and an autobiography of his time in the Middle East. He lives happily with his wife in Wetherby, West Yorkshire where he enjoys being close to his family.
I love memoirs about interesting people and this book was no exception! I was given this book and am voluntarily reviewing it. Veronica lived a horrific childhood, never seeing any way out of her lot in life. But Veronica was born with tenacity and she starts crawling out of the hole at a young age by getting a scholarship to a boarding school. When Veronica’s selfish brother-in-law pulls her out of school so they can get free labor, Veronica still makes a plan to escape. Eventually, she ends up as a prison guard, knowing that her family member will not be able to get to her behind the bars. Veronica works hard and keeps rising up the ranks and ends up improving the prison system. Veronica is a true inspiration. She was given no advantages in life, yet she worked hard and never gave up. She made her own life for herself. I love the matter-of-fact way she writes about her circumstances without a “feel sorry for me” vibe. I found the stories of prison life fascinating, as they are not usually discussed with the public. It was so interesting to be a part of a world, through reading, that is so different from my own. This is a great read for fans of memoir and autobiography. *Pictures and content provided to me as part of the book tour*