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June 25, 2004

Deaf talkabout: My name is Andrew... and here's my story

From: Belfast Telegraph - Belfast,Nothern Ireland,UK - Jun 25, 2004

By Bob McCullough
25 June 2004

FIRST prize in the Belfast Telegraph Young Authors and Artists competition, organised by the NDCS, went to Andrew McRoberts, of Lurgan College, and this is his story.

MY name is Andrew McRoberts. I am in my thirteenth year and so far have reached the dizzy heights of 155cm. My head is covered with a dark fair thatch, which if not sheared regularly becomes an uncontrollable mass protruding in all directions.

My days are currently endured in an educational establishment of some quality, it must be said. Lessons are made more tolerable by the knowledge that after each week comes the weekend. Not for me are my peers' interests of football and pop music; I prefer an antique auction to add to my collection of items small and wooden.

Having been to review the previous day, I arrive early at the auction to assess the opposition. As I walk into the room, my eyes hover across the miscellaneous collection of furniture, ornaments and paintings.

Taking pride of place on a stand a little to the left of the auctioneer's podium was the object of my heart's desire - its funnels gleaming on the port side, a mahogany model of the Titanic.

As the overhead clock relentlessly marches to the appointed time, the crowd of potential bidders grows even bigger. I hope I am up to the challenge of out- bidding the others.

I chose my position in the room with great care; too far back I might be hidden from view, too near the front and I might be overlooked. As the auction gets under way the small items pass under the gavel with little ado. As we approach my magic number of 137, the temperature rises round the room. Small beads of sweat rise on my forehead as the assistant holds the model of Titanic aloft.

The opening bid is accepted from the rear of the room. I raise my hand but panic. He fails to see. Another bid is accepted. The auctioneer's eyes scan the assembly as his gavel is raised to strike, declaring a new owner of this famous liner. Briskly rising to my feet, I wave my catalogue in the air, something in the fashion of an Olympic flame carrier.

To my intense relief the bid is accepted. Once more his eyes, finely tuned with many years of practice of surveying gatherings for nods of heads, winks of eyes, or in my case uncontrollable flailing of arms, have not failed. As the gavel lowers, the suspense becomes unbearable and the small beads of sweat start to trickle down my flushed cheeks.

Then just as suddenly, bang, the hammer falls to me! I am asked to display my bidder's number. Overcome with an incredible mixture of pride and joy, I somehow find the strength to hold in the air a small piece of card measuring 10cms square.

The remainder of the event is a pleasure to watch. As I have succeeded in my purchase of today, all that remains is the pleasure of owning such a fine piece.

THE trophy for the best entry from a profoundly deaf pupil went to ten-year-old Ruth Kelly, from Jordanstown Schools.

What are my Diamond days?

Let me think.

London with my Mum,

Went to London by airplane.

First time by flight

Meet our friends there,

Seen different races of people,

Saw lots of lovely shops.

What are my Diamond days?

Let me think,

Oh those jewellery shops,

Mum has a credit card,

Waves it like a wand,

Allowing me to pick whatever I want.

What are my Diamond days?

Let me think, We go mad,

We flash the money until it is all gone,

Oh those Diamond memories.

Only sad part is to come,

Home and no money left,

But full of Diamond memories,

And prezzies for my family.

© 2004 Independent News and Media (NI) a division of Independent News & media (UK) Ltd