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Dorothy's book heals childhood memories

Dorothy Dewing, who was just ten when she set sail from war-torn Britain for Melbourne with her 51-year-old mother, has published her fascinating story in Bloody Pommies!, a book which sees hope turn to despair.

Dorothy and her mother spent four unhappy years in australia from 1951, suffering resentment and discrimination in the small town of Corowa where they tried so desperately hard to settle as the only British immigrants.

Now a mother and grandmother herself, Dorothy admits that she loathed australia with all her heart for many years after they eventually returned to Britain. But the story does have a happy ending. Not only did Dorothy and her mother return to visit Australia, the country they had vowed never to set foot in ever again, she has made many lasting friendships and even met up with the children, now adults, who used to torment her so badly.

And of her mesmerising book, Dorothy says: "It undoubtedly helped to heal the wounds and put ghosts to rest but it was a huge emotional journey."

The 272 pages of Bloody Pommies!, interspersed with original old photographs, will reduce you to tears but you will want to read chapter after chapter to see what happens to the young Dorothy and her family. She tells of how?..
*she was bereft when her older brother Peter went out to Australia, aged 17, to seek a better life on a farm under the Big Brother Movement.

*she and her courageous mother took the brave decision to join him, believing it would be the promised land.
*they were forced to live in a tiny garage, with grease and oil stains on the floor after her mother's sponsor dumped them, suitcases and all, on the pavement.
*the taunts and bullying she had to suffer at school and the day boys cut a snake's head off in front of her, threatening to do the same to her if she ever told of her ordeal.
*they saved and saved for the voyage back home to England, leaving Peter behind.
*and what happened to them all in later years, including her beloved brother, mother and her sister and brother in law, Joanie and Fred who had also joined them.

"They say that everybody has one book in them?..well, this is mine," says Dorothy in the preface. "I have wanted to write it for many years but now that I am living in tranquil, warm Tenerife I have the time and the enthusiasm for such a project. Time may have dimmed my memories but some of them are indelibly fixed forever."

Chatting to Dorothy in her lovely home in the mountains near Playa San Juan, you realise instantly just how deep an impact her four years in Australia made on her. As she says in Bloody Pommies!, when she left Britain, she was a child. When she returned to England in 1954, she was still only 14 but an adult.

She and her mother often wondered afterwards how they had survived the experience but it undoubtedly made Dorothy the strong woman she is today. She went on to be a highly successful businesswoman, working with a firm of stockbrokers in London and becoming the first ever female to deal directly with the dealers on the floor of the Stock Exchange.

Later, she became head of personnel services with Shell UK Exploration and was a Justice of the Peace in Norfolk before settling in Tenerife with her husband Rodney. They have been through many ordeals since her early days in Australia which, she believes, gave her the mechanism to cope and conquer. Her family means everything to her - they have three children and five grand-daughters. Her children gave her fantastic support and her son even designed the front cover.

Ironically, despite the discrimination encountered in Australia, Dorothy has been back many times since, including for her old school's reunion in June where her first 50 books were snapped up. She and Rodney even plan to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary there next year. They have friends they visit and friends who visit them, not least Brenda, the one schoolgirl who had the courage to ask her to play. It's all a far cry from the years not so long ago when Dorothy hated anything and everything Australian and would not even watch cricket or tennis if Australia were playing.

To reveal how her fortunes changed would spoil the book but you need to read it to discover what happened to Peter, Dorothy's mother, their much-loved pets, her schooling, her mother's jobs, their homes and their voyage both to Australia and home.

There could be few novels or television blockbusters which would captivate you more and leave a lasting impression. And, chatting to Dorothy about her life since, you suspect there are more books to come in the future which will be full of surprises, delights and determination.

*Bloody Pommies! by Dorothy Dewing is published by AuthorHouse UK Ltd of Milton Keynes (www.authorhouse.co.uk) and is also available through Amazon.

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