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James Robert Kneale born in Barrett Maternity Home, Northamptonshire, U.K.
6.40am Thursday 4th June 1981.
Weighing in at 7lbs 4ozs and 23" long.


Just after arriving home from the hospital. Mummy with her new baby James, 48hrs old - Saturday 6 June.


On 7th July 1997, three of James' friends passed over in a fire. Billy, Pieter and Stephen.

James was only 16yrs old and this was a tragedy for him.  He would have been with them, but we had just moved house with no landline, and they couldn't get through to him on his cellphone. 

He always said he should have been with them, cos he could have got them out.

He read out a eulogy for them at the crematorium, very brave for a 16yr old. He took a cd player and his friends and him decided to play R.E.M. Everybody Hurts.  He also dedicated Puff Daddy Every Breath I Take, to them.

Around 12midnight on Wednesday 13 July, James had the car accident, on a dark South African road and thousands of miles away from his family in England.
Wednesday 13 July 2005
James had decided to stay in South Africa when we, his mum and dad moved back to U.K. after being out of the country for 11yrs. He was 24yrs old, and although we weren't happy with his decision, we had to accept it. After all, he had spent 9yrs of his life there and made many friends.
He came over with us for his brother Si's wedding on 16 April, 2005, and was very proud to be a Best Man. He and his dad flew back to South Africa on 20th April 2005, to get James sorted out with his new home and for his dad to finish off our house sale. His dad arrived back in North Wales on 1st June, with James settled in a house he was sharing with 2 other guys, a VW Polo (a birthday gift from his dad) and a new job. We rang him on his 24th birthday on 4th June, and he was happy and well, although missing us already!
I had a text message from James on Wednesday 13th July, asking how I was and saying that he was just finishing work and then going for dinner with one of his old schoolfriends.
He was a devout Liverpool football fan, and that night after dinner, he and his friend went to watch the match on a big screen. James was hoping to see his dad and brother Si, as they were at the match. His friend said he was very excited, and Si, as usual, rang him just before kickoff while the crowd were singing the club's anthem, You'll Never Walk Alone. James was singing his heart out and wearing his red Liverpool shirt. All was well and he left, saying goodnight to his friend and set off on his journey home, which was only 10mins away. This was a dark African road with no streetlights, (not unusual) for S.Africa. I was sitting alone at home waiting for Bob to come, when I got a call from James' cell phone from his girlfriend, saying he had been in a car crash and the paramedics had told her it didn't look good. I got the number for Johannesburg General Hospital, told her not to worry and rang them straight away. I was very calm and spoke to A&E, who told me that there was noone by that name there, but there was an ambulance on the way with a male from a RTA. I told them it was my son and was able to give them his blood group and also that he was allergic to penicillian. They told me to call back in 30mins., which would be 12.10am our time. Bob and Si were stuck in football traffic and I didn't want to worry them, so I sent a text message to my friend, who arrived with her partner within 10mins. They didn't want me to ring the hospital until Bob had arrived, so I waited and sent a text message to Si, saying that James had been in a car crash but not to tell his dad, when he was driving. I waited until 12.30am and Bob still wasn't here and I could wait no longer, so I rang S.Africa. This time they put me through to the trauma unit and I spoke to the sister in charge. She told me that James had severe head injury, along with a broken right arm, broken right tib/fib, broken left pelvis, punctured left lung and 1st degree burns on his back from lying in the petrol. She also told me that half of his scalp was off but they had stapled it now. She told me that we must get there a.s.a.p. and to call at 3am our time to speak to the neurologist. Bob arrived home and my friend explained to him what happened. We still didn't know how the accident happened, except that James had run into the back of a van which had pulled out in front of him with no lights on.
Our friends left and we laid on the bed and tried to rest. I bargained with God to take my life and spare James, I sent him Reiki and Angel healing, and then rang the hospital. The neurologist said he had 2sm bleeds on the brain, but that no operation was required, but due to his multiple injuries we must get there a.s.a.p. I asked him questions and told him we couldn't get flights for a few hours. I then had to call Si, who was waiting up for the news and then tried to get some rest. We had only just moved back to U.K. and our shipment was still on it's way over, so we had no internet to book flights, so at 8am we drove to Si's and he and Bob set about getting flights sorted out, which wasn't an easy task with 3 of us wanting to fly together. I remember I went to lie down at Si's and managed to sleep for around an hour. Bob woke me and said we must go and get packed and had got a flight at 8pm from Manchester, changing at Doah in the Middle East, this would not arrive until Friday 15th around 6pm! TO BE CON'd.

Monday 8th August.
James was rubbing the back of my head, as if to say: "It's ok mum".  This was just 4 days before he passed over.


Passed over at 3.25am in Johannesburg General Hospital, South Africa.
Friday 12thAugust, 2005.
Age 24yrs.

He Only Took My Hand

Last night while I was trying to sleep,
My son's voice I did hear.
I opened my eyes and looked around,
But he did not appear.
He said " Mum, you've got to listen,
You've got to understand.
God didn't take me from you, mum,
He only took my hand.
When I called out in pain that night.
The instant that I passed,
He reached down and took my hand,
and pulled me to his side.
He pulled me up and saved me
from the misery and the pain.
My body was hurt so badly inside,
I could never be the same.
My search is really over now,
I've found happiness within.
All the answers to my empty dreams
and all that might have been.
I love you so and miss you so
and I'll always be nearby.
My body's gone forever,
but my spirit will never die!
And so, you must go on now,
live one day at a time.
Just understand-
God did not take me from you,
He only took my hand.

~ Author~
Verity McClugage
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