In Memory Of Bret Crane - By Prison Widow

Don't quote me on the year, but 2001 rings a bell. Maybe when I see his mum next, she will tell me different. Bret went to stay in one of the Queen's houses... the ones that don't let you go out to the pub or shops! Yep, that's right, one of those Queen's houses! I remember the morning he went because I was at his house with his then girlfriend and baby daughter. It wasn't a great morning but then any morning isn't great when you're off to the clink! I know Bret won't mind me writing this, because every time we bumped in to each other, we would have a conversation about the Prison newspaper that I write for every month. Anyway, as I said, I vividly remember that morning as being a grim one. As a joke, and I really did mean it as a joke, I asked Bret to find me a pen-pal. Bret found me a few... some were OK, others were bloody nut cases, but without Bret, my prison journey wouldn't have started because I never had the time of day for any criminal. It was Bret that changed my way of thinking about prisoners ( well some of them ) and without him, you certainly wouldn't be reading this blog or Prison Widow columns in Inside Time newspaper today. I visited Bret in the Queen's house along with his mum and it wasn't long before I was visiting Bret's acquaintances AKA my prison pen-pals. I ended up with one of the pen-pals and we had a daughter together. During Bret's stay in Queen Lizzies gaff, I started to write comedy scripts for him. Months down the line, along with other prisoners, the screws were asking him if they could read them. In fact, they once said to him, " Has that bloke wrote any more of those scripts"? Bloke? That's right, they thought the 'near to the knuckle' scripts were written by a fella! Cheeky gits, but then I have got my own back since! The day Bret was released from prison, my doorbell rang. It was the man himself and he asked me and my chap round to his for drinks that night to celebrate his freedom. Friends and a few of Bret's cousins were there and we had a right laugh. Bret said he would never go back to prison... and he never did. I often bumped in to Bret in Farnworth. One time he was deliberately banging in to my shopping trolley in ASDA and I was just about to turn around and give this person a gob-full, and there he was, Bret Crane pissing his sides laughing! Bret featured in a magazine ( Take A Break ) in one of my stories and I promised I'd get him a copy but never got round to it. He always asked me where his copy was when I bumped in to him. Bret's nan and granddad were best friends with my nan and granddad and went on holidays every year to Great Yarmouth together. Another significant place for me! Bret went on another journey today. He went to another place but this time he won't be coming home here. Bret's welcome home party will be with Hilda and Norman ( his nan and granddad ) in heaven. Rest in peace Bret and if you see any of my lot up there, give them a wave from me, and remember... when anyone ever asks me where it all started... my answer is always the same. It started with Bret Crane.