John Halewood-Dodd column

John Halewood Dodd.
John Halewood Dodd.

It’s that time of year when we look back on the year that has passed and forward to the coming year with some optimism.

ersonally, this last year has been one of the most difficult I have ever had. My marriage of over fifteen years sadly came to an end, and I have really struggled with being separated from my three boys.

My mother’s health has really deteriorated and she is now in care. I have spoken previously about her dementia and of late she has found it really difficult to even remember who her family are.

We had hoped to have her home for Christmas but were advised that the change of surroundings would be confusing and possibly too distressing for her.

On the work front legal aid cuts have been imposed with more to come in the new year, and this has had a devastating effect on all solicitors who practice criminal law. There have been pay cuts and redundancies, and a number of quite prominent firms have actually gone under.

It all seems quite depressing, but there have been some positives during the last twelve months. My grown up daughter from a previous relationship has moved in with me, and she has been an absolute tonic.

During my marriage break up I realised how many really good friends I have. The vast majority have been unbelievably supportive and have been there throughout these extremely trying times. They know who they are and I would like to thank each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart.

Although I have said how much I miss my sons I do feel that not being with them has meant that the time we do spend together is much more valuable. We do more constructive things and I genuinely believe that we will be able to develop a better relationship over time.

So, as is traditional, I will outline my New Year resolutions.

Firstly, I will stop smoking. I also intend to pass my driving test, and I feel that both of these are achievable. I also aim to be more tolerant of others and to be as happy as I possibly can be.

With this in mind, I feel that 2015 is likely to be a very good year.