Kate signs last page in memory of James

A SON honoured his late father by asking the journalist who spent time with his regiment to sign the last page he read of her autobiography.

Spalding man James Hayden was a tank driver with the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars during the first Gulf War and Kate Adie followed this unit for a period in her role as a BBC reporter.

Sadly, Mr Hayden, who was known as Jimmy, died in June and did not finish reading Ms Adie's autobiography bought as a Christmas present by his youngest son, who is also called James.

But on Tuesday James (23) told Ms Adie of his father's story before asking her to sign page 69 during a promotion at Bookmark, Spalding.

He said: "I wanted her to sign the last page he read. It was a beautiful message. I was proud and delighted that someone was taking an interest in my father even though he isn't here.

"My dad knows I have done it and if he was still here he would have been over the moon.

"He was a very clever and honest man."

Mr Hayden served with the Queen's Royal Irish Hussars for 21 years and rose to the rank of Warrant Officer II.

It was while the regiment was serving on the front line in Kuwait during the first Gulf War in the early 1990s that Ms Adie spent time with Mr Hayden's unit.

The family has a picture of Ms Adie signing the diary Mr Hayden kept of his time during the conflict.

James said: "She rode on his tank and in a sense he guarded her. He was the tank driver.

"In his diary he wrote that it was very nice of the BBC to come along and that it did a marvellous job of boosting morale of the troops."

James bought his father Ms Adie's autobiography, The Kindness of Strangers, as a gift and it was this book that he asked her to sign.

He said: "She said that one of the reasons she got into journalism was to hear people's stories.

"When I told her what happened she was quite intrigued. She said she was sorry for what happened.

"It gave me a sense of fulfillment and nostalgia of my dad's career and life. I will treasure this."

Mr Hayden died at the age of 49 in June after being diagnosed with liver cancer in February. He is survived by wife Sylvia and sons David (26) and James. They live in Edinburgh Drive, Spalding.

n Ms Adie visited Bookmark store in The Crescent to promote her new book Nobody's Child.

Around 140 people heard Ms Adie speak about children who have been abandoned by their parents.

During the half-hour talk Ms Adie discussed her experiences of abandoned children in a Bosnian hospital before answering questions from the public.

Bookmark owner Christine Hanson said: "It was a very nice evening. She was very interesting and entertaining."