The day after Cilla came with me to the meeting where Hillingdon announced that they had agreed the tender from the hospital in Wales, I got me a solicitor. It was 29th November and it had taken since the beginning of May to find legal representation. Cilla was taking three days off and told me to download the Court of Protection application forms and we'd complete them together on her return.
I took the next day off work, determined to find a solicitor. A few months earlier, Lucy Series made contact with me and we'd kept in regular contact. That day, she saw the Facebook post I'd done and she offered to help ringing around. About noon, she called me to say that she thought she'd found one. It was a legal firm in Cornwall - I live in West London. But she was just about to speak to the guy on the phone and was very hopeful. That guy was Chris Cuddihee.
It was another of those "angels" moments. That day, Chris just happened to be up in Paddington on a DOLs conference. He was finding it very turgid, so was prepared to bunk off for the afternoon and travel across London to meet me. Two hours later, I was waiting outside Uxbridge station when this huge man appeared - I'm 5ft 8 and he was at least a foot taller than me. We went back to the flat and Chris spent a couple of hours talking to me and getting the story onto his laptop. He then asked me to leave him for an hour whilst he went through all the DOLs authorisations. I didn't know what to do, so went upstairs and hoovered the bedrooms. Chris had a similar response to the authorisations as Cilla - he couldn't believe how bad they were. I came back into the living room and Chris was smiling. He stood up and shook my hand and said: "Right let's nail those cunts and get your son home". I knew we were going to get on swell. The doorbell rang and it was Steven's main support worker and his boss. I introduced them to Chris and there were lots of hugs and tears as for the first time in months, there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Chris only met Steven three times but made quite an impression. Whenever Steven does one of his lookalike games, he always compares Chris to the really big people he knows - like Warrior in Gladiators. Chris had a boat that he used to sail in Cornwall and that really impressed Steven, who made up all sorts of stories about Chris going out one day to catch a killer shark.
Perhaps that precisely what he did.