As his gruelling battle to make parental alienation a crime continues, Andrew John Teague reveals that on Christmas Day he will have taken 10 million steps in the right direction.
The biggest day in the family calendar will bring the first leg of his never-ending walk to a dramatic end as he and other members of D.A.D.S (dads against double standards) scale the 2,000 feet high Pen y Fan in South Wales.
Andrew, from Swansea, said: “Roll on the New Year when it will all start again… and we hope to make an even bigger impression, get the message to more people and get changes made.”
In the last year, either alone, or with the support of members of D.A.D.S and the National Association of Alienated Parents, Andrew has criss-crossed England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland on foot and climbed mountains including Snowdon, Pen y Fan and the 600ft high Kilvey Hill.
After one climb Andrew, who is 54 years old, said: “I can feel my pulse pumping inside my head … but it’s worth it to raise awareness.”
Julie Newcombe, from South Wales, who has joined him on a number of climbs, said: “I can’t believe I managed to climb Snowdon and Pen Y Fan. What an experience I’ll never forget! Strength I never knew I had and now I know anything is possible when you put your mind to it. Don’t ever give up.”
After another, Andrew’s partner Sophie David said: “Well. they did it. The weather wasn’t great but they did it! I’m so proud, I know we can do anything we set our minds to.”
The walks and climbs were, amongst other things, to raise funds for the new educational DVD which is now being quietly delivered to courts, social services and schools across the country. There have been requests for copies from different parts of the world.
Andrew said: “It’s been two years of battling, walking, climbing and campaigning … we have marched on court houses and we have literally left the shirts off our backs everywhere.”
The Shirt off My Back campaigners gather outside their local court house and leave a shirt festooned with the names of parents who have lost contact with their child as a protest.
Dozens of court houses across the UK have already become focal points for these peaceful protests.
Andrew said: “All the trainers I have will be retired after over 10 million steps and at least 10 mountain climbs! Like there is zero comfort for alienated parents across the world, there is zero comfort in these trainers. It’s going to be a new way in the New Year, both literally and metaphorically.”
But it has been a year marred by tragedy and Andrew has talked of the harrowing battle to stop estranged parents killing themselves.
He said this about one case which happened as International Man’s Day highlighted the plight of suicides: “I was on the phone with a member and someone he knows hanged himself. It had me in tears.”
Andrew, from Swansea, said: “It’s almost an epidemic – I’ve not heard from one I spoke to a couple of nights ago who was taken into hospital.
“In the case of parental alienation, how do you cope with knowing your not seeing you children for Christmas and not even knowing when you will ever see them?
“It cripples me having to deal and help these vulnerable parents.”
But Andrew points out that it’s not only dads who are the victims of parental alienation, the roll-call of shame actually begins with the children who are systematically turned against one parent or the other.
But mothers too are victims and are grandparents and members of the extended family.