Gary Rycroft column

Gary Rycroft.
Gary Rycroft.

Last week we took the kids to The Dukes to see a version of A Christmas Carol staged by Alternative Outcomes, a theatre company comprised of people who use Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service.

Their take on the classic Dickens Tale was called Ebenezer Dealer and was the story of a drug dealer who sees the error of his ways and finds redemption by realising that money is not important, but rather friends and family are what matter.

I had wanted to see the play since I had first heard about it being developed a few months ago.

But I have to admit another motive was that taking the children along was a deliberate attempt to show them that they have privileged lives and that others living here in Lancaster do not have it so easy.

I was rather pleased with myself for this nifty but of parenting.

But of course pride comes before a fall and in the event it was me who ended up having a life lesson.

The narrator of the play was a distinguished looking gent in a three piece suit, wearing a fob watch.

He had a strong speaking voice and I clocked during the performance that he seemed different somehow from the other participants.

I was surprised the day after seeing the play to read in this newspaper that the said narrator was in fact the infamous Morecambe Bird Man, John Wilkinson, who was jailed earlier this year for breaching an ASBO for feeding pigeons.

At the time I was quoted in this paper’s sister publication The Visitor saying (and I paraphrase myself here) that it was a shame Mr Wilkinson had been sent to jail, but it was a necessary step given he had breached an ASBO.

Yet seeing Mr Wilkinson and his friends perform on stage last week made me realise how complex life can be, how circumstances and forces beyond our control can shape us and that in the end having humanity and understanding of others and their situation is what matters.

Because we all make mistakes sometimes, myself definitely included.

And if we do make a mistake perhaps we sometimes deserve an alternative outcome?