I’ve never blamed anyone for my accident. I considered it one of those unfortunate events that happen in life – and I was the victim in this case.

Of course my mother carried a lot of guilt from that day’s fire. As a parent myself I understand that. Of course you feel you could have done more to help, perhaps even avoid the accident. But life doesn’t work like that. You can’t be everywhere as a parent, nor can you be vigilant 24 hours a day. Mum didn’t neglect me that day, just ran across to the shop for a minute or two and then…. In her position, and given this was 1956, who’s to say what any of us might have done differently.

My sister, a year and 4 days older at the time, and the only one in the house with me, also carried the guilt for many years. But she was but a child, too small to help me. No, I never blamed either of them for the accident or the aftermath.

Attaching blame wouldn’t have made me feel better; or changed the physical and mental scars I endured. I felt pity for myself rather than looked for someone I could pin responsibility on. Blaming others makes you bitter and angry, resentful and vengeful. It wasn’t in my makeup to want to be any of those things. Besides, I lived in a very loving and caring environment with my family, and that certainly helped.

Playing the blame game would have been hugely destructive of me, would have altered my personality and turned me into a deeply unpleasant individual. I doubt if I would have been fit company for anyone and certainly not very appealing as a future marriage partner or father. I know people who have failed to adjust and their lives as a consequence have been miserable. I didn’t want to be in that place and fought so hard to avoid it.

I tried to move on with my life, and while my attempts to do so largely failed – at least for many years – I also learned a lot about myself. I made many mistakes, but ultimately survived. I didn’t self-destruct as I’m certain I would have had I indulged in the blame game.