From his early life growing up on one of the most deprived and poverty-ridden housing estates in South East London, Brian Montgomery has risen to become a pillar of the community. He’s developed a number of community and crime prevention programmes, changing the lives of thousands in the process.
His new book, ‘Degsy Hay - A Juvenile Redeemed’, continues that vital mandate. While a novel, the narrative will inspire any parent to steer their child on the straight and narrow, no matter the poverty they live in.
Sixteen-year-old Degsy is roughing it on the snowy freezing streets of London with no one for company but Sadface, the three-legged dog he saved from the bins. He's spent his whole life in and out of jail, rising to power as the gaffer, dealing with cracking skulls, but he always looks after his own and those who can't look after themselves. He learnt that from Gladys - the little old lady whose life he saved when he was a kid - and from his violent, drug-addicted mum, who showed him exactly what it feels like to be powerless and alone.
He was cut from her belly, kicking and screaming, in a prison cell and spent his first four years there in hell. It was tough – he has the scars to prove it – but he has no idea how tough until he finds her diary: The Devil’s Book. Her cheerful boasts of violence, humiliation and torture leave him breathless. Then her evil scrawl gets darker still, and sexual, and just as he is about to discover the full horror of his childhood, he finds that the pages he needs to read are missing.
But he must look forward now. He’s determined to keep his nose clean. He can’t go back to prison, not again. He wants to make a better life for himself. And he wants to help others, too: kids in gangs, like he was, the homeless, the elderly, like Gladys – he can’t bear the thought of them getting beaten up or feeling like prisoners in their own homes. He has a vision. He wants to turn an abandoned school and hospital into a housing project for young people – Unit 16-21. It will cost millions of pounds, and he can’t even afford a bag of crisps, but it’s a dream that keeps him warm at night (along with hooch, weed and the pills that the vet gave him for Sadface’s injuries).
He wants to change the world … but the world has other ideas. See, he takes on a final job to score a little cash – dumping a scooter for the TWC, a gang with a reputation for violence and connections to a mysterious crime lord with eyes, ears and guns on every corner: MR-K. It turns out the scooter was used to mow down a copper, and members of the TWC take photos of him dumping it. Now he’s just waiting to be arrested for a crime he didn’t commit.
And then there’re the kids to worry about: more and more missing kid posters are pasted all over London, and when his mate, Dipper, goes missing, he knows that it’s a problem he can’t ignore.
As Degsy searches for the truth about his past, the whereabouts of the missing children and a better way of life, losing the game of cat and mouse with street predators and the police, he is slowly drawn back into a world of trouble that he will be lucky to escape with his life intact. But Degsy's is a story of transformation and redemption, of strength and hope, of holding onto an impossible dream and watching it become a reality...no matter what the cost.
“Any parent can keep their child away from trouble,” explains the author. “My book is a great starting point for them, sharing a vivid and relatable urban story that any young person will see themselves reflected in. I stand by my belief that every young person can achieve great things and that their starting hand in life isn’t a roadmap for how they must live.”
Continuing, “My own life has been enriched by the community projects I’ve been involved in and I’ve seen, time and time again, how positive influence can save any young person from the shackles of their deprived childhood. Fiction is a wonderful vehicle for affecting change, and I hope this book can save thousands of lives and empower readers to seek a better future.”
‘Degsy Hay - A Juvenile Redeemed’ is available now: https://amzn.to/2FjvAXF.
About the author, in his own words:
Having spent most of my early childhood growing up on one of the worse deprived council estates in South East London, joining gangs had become a trend for many. We didn't carry knives or guns though, we just used our fist and shook hands after a good scrap.
I urge all young people out there thinking of carrying knives to hand them over to the police. On top of my ordinary day job, I have used my personal experiences gained from the last 30 years developing many community development and crime prevention programs where many have paid for itself.
The most successful so far was the HAY PROMOTERS which can be seen on www.dhconsulting.me.uk.
My goal is to establish a similar programme in and around the many communities up and down the UK with the help and support of those local government agencies, police and local businesses.
Hay Promoters video: https://youtu.be/-UtENjE6j4w?t=11s.
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