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Sam Neill a great help to those who stammer

Your article, ‘Hollywood star Sam Neill puts Antrim shop owner in spotlight’ (News, November 22), was a heart-warming one.

Sam has done a great deal to help people who stammer by being vocal about his past struggles with stammering.

On the website of the Stuttering Foundation (www.stammeringhelp.org), you’ll find an article on Neill and his stammering called ‘Actor Sam Neill talks about his stammering’.

Through his compassion and altruism, Neill has put a human face on stammering.

LAURA PALMER

Houston, Texas, USA

A poem for my beloved late wife

My First Christmas (Alone)

The house is quiet and sombre, no tinsel on the tree

I find it hard to realise you’re no longer here with me

It’s just gone over 40 years since the joyful day we wed

And three months after losing you, there’s lots I could have said.

I know the kids are grieving, too, and for them I do feel sorry

I’ve tried to comfort each of them and tell them not to worry

They know that time’s a healer and grief will come to pass

And on Christmas morn they can join me to put flowers on the grass.

I must pull myself together and clean the house as best I can

Whenever you were living here it was always spic and span.

I’ll visit you at the graveside, then go on my way to them

Especially the grandkids, each one a little gem.

And so at last this Christmas Day, I’ve chosen to dine alone

And make myself a hot meal with turkey on the bone.

With your photo on the table, to you I’ll wave a kiss

And thank you for the 40 years of happy married bliss.

CHARLES J MONAGHAN

Ex-Glengormley now living in Preston

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