As his gruelling battle to make parental alienation a crime continues, Andrew John Teague revealed how his lucky number and a small heart-shaped stone kept him going after injuring his knee descending a mountain.
As Andrew, co-founder of D.A.D.S. (dads against double standards), continued his never-ending journey to tell the powers-that-be about PA he injured his leg descending Ben Nevis.
It was then he spotted a heart-shaped stone amongst the shale and slate. “It was just one of those things, but I was hurting a bit and it was like a sign, just a bit of encouragement. I’ll carry this little stone with me wherever I go now.
“It was a bit spooky I suppose as this walk was a bit of a personal journey anyway… I’d set off from my dad’s old house in Billingham in County Durham as a mark of respect to him because, more than 40 years ago, he won custody of my sister, Helen.”
And then to continue the ‘spookiness’ of his marathon, Andrew had made it to the top of Scafell Pike in the Lake District – one of the toughest peaks in the UK – when he saw a dull-looking coin in the path.
He said: “I picked it up and it was a dirty old two pound coin, so I picked it up. I didn’t think much of it really but I was feeling a bit tired and my legs and feet were hurting.
“Then here I was slogging it up Scafell Pike. I wasn’t down-hearted but I wasn’t feeling at my best. Anyway, I scrubbed some dirt off the coin and I saw it was dated 2007. I know I means nothing really but my lucky number is 7 and it psychologically it gave me another boost.”
Andrew, aged 54, from Swansea, was also determined to raise funds for to pay a professional videographer to make an educational DVD to be sent out to schools, local authorities and judges to make the professionals more aware of the signs of Parental Alienation and the damage it can do to a young child’s mind.
Still nursing the blisters from his walk, Andrew said: “Changing laws doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time and sadly its our children who suffer.
We need to educate people and we need to push for reform. It boils down to our rights as parents and the rights of our children to be in a loving relationship with both the people who brought them into the world.”
Just over a year ago Andrew, his partner Sophie David and a group of people who had lost contact with their children, got together and began fighting back, fighting the parents who alienated them, fighting the social workers who stack the odds against them, fighting the courts which are guided by the social workers and fighting the indifference their plight is met with by society.
The first thing they did was set up the Facebook page, D.A.D.S (dads against double standards) and their social media quest to tell the world had begun. Many other groups across the UK and the world are making their own protests
Members of D.A.D.S have been carrying out major campaigns including The Shirt off My Back where 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 become focal points for these peaceful protests.
Parental alienation happens when a child, usually one whose parents are in a high-octane separation or divorce, allies himself with one parent and rejects the other without justification.
The real tragedy is that parental alienation can damage the mental health of children who can be riddled with guilt, sadness, low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence.
The new DVD will focus on the damage parental alienation has on the minds of children.
Andrew said: “We have got some of the UK’s leading experts in parental alienation on board and they are helping us in many ways but one of the main focuses at the moment is to get this educational video made so we can tell those in power in their own homes and their offices exactly what this awful syndrome does to our children.”