……I’m going back to Sunday 6th July 2008 in my journal.
I was getting notes together for my Number 10 motivational speech for Toastmasters (public speaking club) and for which I would receive a ‘Competent Communicator’ certificate.
“I’m standing here remembering what I felt like 3 years ago when I first came to Toastmasters. I joined because there was a chance I would be interviewed by the media about the book I was co-authoring about the last woman to be hanged in the UK in 1955. The thought of interviews and speaking in public, thinking on my feet, scared me to death. I had to learn how to be prepared.
Our book, RUTH ELLIS MY SISTER’S SECRET LIFE, was published on 7th July 2005, the day the London bombs went off. Our chance to reach a wide audience via the media was scuppered. Our sensational findings about: the bodged Old Bailey trial in 1955 in which Ruth Ellis’s defence counsel confused his duties with the prosecution’s; and Ruth Ellis’s liaison with spymaster Dr Stephen Ward, later of the Profumo scandal, were buried. Every bit of national publicity for our book was pulled.
But, knowing that when one door closes, another ALWAYS opens, I took to journal writing in earnest – jotting down every thought, every idea.
It was the start of my campaign to clear Ruth Ellis’s name. I knew that to win in the Court of Appeal (if we were to get another chance) with my new findings, I first had to win in the Court of Public Opinion.
I could give talks, so I auditioned to be included on the Women’s Institute list of approved speakers.
Every day I thought which route would bring extra publicity for the campaign to clear Ruth Ellis’s name.
I contacted local newspapers in English counties from Surrey, Kent, and London and to as far away as Northumberland and Cornwall – anywhere that had connections to the story. I wrote to Detective magazines asking them to publicise my findings. They did.
I wrote a blog on the internet – a triumph for someone who’s non-techy!
Every little step became a stride.
I stuffed flyers into books that I sold at talks that I gave to reach an audience as wide as possible. And I speak to any group that will have me, from women’s groups to retired gentlemens’ clubs, from audiences of 10 to audiences of 500.
Step-by-step I discovered ways of raising the profile of my findings. I was determined to push forward as far as possible.
In July 2008, as the 53rd anniversary of Ruth Ellis’s execution approached, my e-petition was accepted on to the Downing Street website. I asked the Prime Minister to look again at the Ruth Ellis case in the light of our new findings which the jury at Ruth Ellis’s trial in 1955, never got to hear – evidence showing that Ruth Ellis was innocent of the crime for which she was hanged. The national newspapers showed an interest. It came to nothing.
I stayed positive.
All these steps, I knew, had been for a reason. it disciplined me to deliver a simple, clear message – to refine my own thinking for a time when the media WILL be interested – giving me time to explore new connections, new evidence. Eventually there will be a breakthrough.
Out of the blue I received a letter from a public relations company. they wanted to help me with my campaign. By raising my profile, they said, it would raise Ruth Ellis’s. Another journalist came to interview me. At 7 o’clock the following Sunday morning, having got up early because I couldn’t sleep, I did some ironing then dashed out to buy the newspaper. The story had been ditched…again.
I will continue my fight to clear Ruth Ellis’s name”.
My message to everyone that night in July 2008 when I gave my 10th speech at Toastmasters: NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP.