A highly sentimental blog from Erica and Richard!


This time last week our family was in a very dark valley. Jonah had been born and resuscitated but was very poorly and in need of a major operation. This week we can see the sunny uplands! Jonah has had his operation and will this afternoon begin to come off the ventilator that he has depended on since birth. His drugs are being reduced and we can even begin to think that sooner rather than later he will be home with Mum, Dad and big sister.

As we have welcomed this our thoughts go to those whose children or grandchildren do not survive such an ordeal with this or other problems. Somehow when an elderly person dies, especially if great age has been reached there is some peace and serenity which comes through the sadness. We mouth platitudes such as, “he had a good innings”, or if the person had been seriously mentally or physically ill, “it was the best thing in the end”. But there is no such relief when a child dies. They didn’t have an innings at all. Parents who have decorated rooms, bought toys and Moses baskets are left to go home alone with only their grief.

We will always remember January 2nd as the day in which Jonah came to us and January 8th as the day in which he was saved for us.  We will always remember those whose outcome has not been as fortunate as ours. Erica in particular will want to do something for both Alder Hey and the Women’s Hospital during her Lord Mayoral year.

Alder Hey is in the news today. As a building it is in desperate need of demolition! It is old and creaking and is not fit for purpose. We have not been able to look at today’s report but we would place on record our belief that the staff at both hospitals have been marvellous and that in Alder Hey in particular they struggle against their environments. In both hospitals we found some things that could be improved and I am sure that Erica and Emma will be prepared to share those thoughts at an appropriate time but the overwhelming feeling that we have is one of respect for the staff, their professionalism and compassion.

We have also thought about the good fortune that we have had in being adopted Scousers. This was brought home to us on Monday when we were stopped in the street by a perfect stranger on Allerton Road who asked us how Jonah was doing. We told her and then asked how she knew of our problems. “We prayed for him in Church yesterday”, was the reply! It appears that prayers were said for Jonah and his family in at least 3 of our local Churches last Sunday.

There are only 4 types of people in this Country:

  • ·         People who were lucky enough to be born in Liverpool
  • ·         People who wish they were born in Liverpool and have done something about it
  • ·         People who wish they were born in Liverpool and were too apathetic to do anything about it
  • ·         Daily Mail readers!

Both of us are in the second category. Erica came to live in Liverpool when she was 4 and I came when I was 21 although my Mum is from Walton but left during the war to join the WAAF and never returned. We have been very grateful for the massive support our family has received from political friends and foes, friends, acquaintances and total strangers. We have not been surprised by this however. This is Liverpool – this is what we do when people are in trouble – we reach out to them and let them know that we are with them in heart and will help them in any way possible.

Looking ahead Emma, Jonah and their family will need a lot of support for the next few weeks so Erica and I will not be up and running next week. As before other councillors and colleagues have stepped in and are doing things for us. We expect to return to our duties on 20th January. One of us will continue to be as nice as ever and one will resume normal hostilities!

In the meantime thank you to everyone for your thoughts, love and prayers – we will never forget them.

Erica and Richard

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. . Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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7 Responses to A highly sentimental blog from Erica and Richard!

  1. Sharon Morris says:

    Well its the first time you have brought tears to my eyes Richard

  2. What an absolutely beautiful post, Richard and Erica. So glad to hear good news about Jonah. I’m sure Emma must be so relieved that she has you both around. The support you are giving her is incredible. Will continue to think of you over the next few weeks.

  3. Beatrice says:

    I’m delighted to read this…no hanky needed as its wonderful news. Been thinking about you all..

  4. Pingback: Top of the Blogs: The Lib Dem Golden Dozen #361

  5. Lisa Jones says:

    Delighted!! Yay!! Unfortunately, my little next-door-neighbour baby, born on Jan 6th, isn’t doing so well. He’s the 3rd child (1st boy after 2 daughters), his mum is a GP and knows what’s needed, but he’s not so good. Just out of Alder Hey today, and facing other operations. Happy news for Jonah, so pleased for you all. xxxx

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