Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Paul's Letter to Santa Is Found 49 Years after His Early Death

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Paul's Letter to Santa Is Found 49 Years after His Early Death

Article excerpt

Byline: Jeremy Armstrong Reporter

ALETTER to Santa from a tragic little Newcastle boy has been discovered by his family almost 50 years after he died.

The handwritten note from Paul Trench, who was just nine years old, marked his last Christmas in 1966. Carefully crafted on an exercise book, it asked for a Subbuteo game, a 'toch' - misspelt for 'torch' - some toy cars and buses.

It was found tucked away in the family's old children's encyclopaedia by his older brother Ray. Paul died suddenly in 1967 from a freak viral infection which was never properly explained.

The discovery of the note in the encyclopaedia, owned by his brother, brought memories of Paul and their family life together flooding back.

"He had a school medical one week and was gone the next," said Ray, 65, a retired teacher who now works as a wedding photographer.

"It was like a thunderbolt. What strikes me is how modest his demands were compared to the expectations of some of the Veruca Salts of these days and the gimme, gimme, gimme culture. Though you cannot tar all children with the same brush, it is fair to say expectations now are so much higher.

"It also took me right back to my childhood.

It was like discovering a time capsule. The presents were all big in the Sixties. The torch which he mentioned had three little filters on it and would shine blue and green.

"The Subbuteo game featured in England's run to win the World Cup. He asked for England v Brazil on his first draft note which we also found, then the England v Argentina match.

"Looking back Batman was really big on TV and he got a Batmobile in his little cars. He died six weeks later on February 2, 1967. It was never fully explained, he had poisoning of the blood and they swabbed all of us afterwards but it was eventually described as an unidentified viral infection. …

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