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A surprising friendship between the Kray twins and a paralysed schoolboy is documented in an archive being sold at auction in Lichfield.
Drawings, letters, poems, Christmas cards and a signed copy of Reg Kray’s Book of Slang all feature in the collection, which began when the notorious gangsters heard of the boy’s plight.
James Fallon was born in Codsall, South Staffordshire, but emigrated to South Africa in the 1980s with his mum Elaine, dad Roger and sister Leanne.
What should have been a fairytale move turned to tragedy when James was run over by an unlicensed teenage driver in September 1988. Despite surviving, he suffered spinal injuries leaving him unable to talk, swallow or breathe without the aid of a life support machine.
With the family facing medical bills, a family friend heard that the Krays wanted to get involved.
Over the next 18 months, both Reg and Ron kept close correspondence with Jamie and his family, sending drawings, poems, cards and letters. The twins also called in support from celebrities, leading to a fundraising gala at the Hackney Empire and a boxing night – although Jamie died two days before the latter, aged 11 in March 1990.
Mum Elaine said: “This was a tragic period in our lives.
“The Kray Twins did not have to do what they did as we lived in South Africa and didn’t know us. What they did for us to raise awareness and money was nothing short of amazing.
“I used to receive phone calls from Reggie from prison to see how James was. His compassion and concern were genuine and I will be forever grateful.”
The archive is being sold by Richard Winterton Auctioneers.
It includes six signed crayon drawings by Reg Kray of a sailor, a cowboy, a boxer, a landscape, a boat at sea and a boxing match. Inside the sketchbook are two Christmas cards.
Spread across four lots, the collection includes a copy of the Book of Slang signed “James, God Bless. Affection, Reg xxxxx”.
“Dedicated to James”
Another lot of letters, poems, cards and newspaper cuttings includes a signed drawing of a cowboy by Reg dedicated to James, and letters to family friend Bernard King from scores of football clubs and celebrities’ secretaries relating to requests for appearances at charity galas.
There is a further archive of around 50 letters and envelopes from both brothers written to James and his parents in South Africa and to his grandmother in Codsall relating to fundraising.
The archive as a whole is estimated to fetch at least £2,500 when it goes under the hammer on 15th May 15.
Jamie’s ashes now lie in Codsall Church. A phrase on his gravestone reads: ‘James symbolised the word courage’.
His uncle Paul Nicholson said: “It all shows the compassionate side of these gangsters through such an emotional time for us as a family.
“There is one hell of a story here – it really would make a great movie.”
For more details on the lots and the sale, visit www.richardwinterton.co.uk or call 01543 251081.
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