' A Dwarf on a Giant's shoulders sees further of the two.'
Terry [Terrence] Wiles
Born at Thorpe Hall Maternity Unit in Peterborough in the UK on January 12 1962, Andy [as he was originally named] was one of the five worst thalidomide babies born in the UK. He was not expected to live.
Andy was a ' Thalidomide baby.'
Thalidomide was a powerful anti-morning sickness drug that had been developed by a German pharmaceutical company in 1953. It was very effective in stopping morning sickness and was prescribed across Europe, Africa, South America and the Far East.
Thalidomide, however, had disastrous side-effects, causing the limbs of the child developing in the womb to grow stunted or, as in the case of Terry, not to grow at all. About 12,000 thalidomide babies were born.
Terry's mother, unable to cope with his severe disabilities, put him into care at the Chailey Hospital in Sussex where Leonard Wiles found him in October 1967.
Len's heart went out to the tiny figure who looked at him from his hospital bed. The nurse gathered up the tiny form in her arms. "Mr...?" she asked.
"Wiles. Leonard Wiles" he replied.
"Andy! There's a visitor here to see you, a Mr Wiles.
"Hello, youngster," said Len smilingly to the small boy."How about getting dressed and coming out in my van?"
On returning home Len told his wife Hazel of his meeting with Andy. She made it clear that she didn't think she would be able to stand a face to face meeting with andy. She was happy to sign forms for him but that was as far as it went.
It took Hazel five months to summon up the courage to go to see Andy but in March 1968 she and Len and Sheba their alsatian set off for the long journey to Chailey Hospital.
On arriving Hazel was very anxious and was astonished on meeting Terry to find that he had legs! But they were the artificial ones he was made to wear by the hospital whenever he went out!
[This site is copyright free - July 2007]
Terry as a child in an early version of 'Supercar'