The Krays and a paralysed schoolboy
Friday, 03 May, 2019 - Modified on Friday, 03 May, 2019 at 10:34 am
A SURPISING friendship between the infamous Kray twins and a paralysed schoolboy is meticulously documented in an archive coming up for auction in Lichfield.
Drawings, letters, poems, Christmas cards and a signed copy of Reg Kray’s Book of Slang all feature in the astonishing collection, which began when the notorious super-gangsters heard of the boy’s plight.
James Fallon was born in Codsall, South Staffordshire, but emigrated to South Africa in the 1980s with his mum Elaine, dad Roger and sister Leanne.
What should have been a fairytale move turned to tragedy when James Fallon was run over by an unlicensed teenage driver in September 1988.
Miraculously, Jamie survived but suffered massive injuries as the impact detached his skull from his spine and stretched his spinal cord.
Unable to talk, swallow or breathe without the aid of a life support machine, and with the Fallons facing astronomical medical bills, a family friend heard that the Krays wanted to get involved.
And so began an unlikely friendship between a once-healthy young boy destined to spend the rest of his life needing round-the-clock care and – 5,600 miles away – two of the UK’s most feared gangsters who by then had been behind bars for almost two decades.
Over the next 18 months, both Reg and Ron kept close correspondence with Jamie and his family, sending drawings, poems, cards and letters.
The twins also called in support from their legion of celebrity supporters, leading to a fundraising gala at the Hackney Empire and a boxing night – although Jamie sadly died two days before the latter, aged 11 in March 1990.
Elaine Fallon, pictured above with Jamie, said: “This was a tragic period in our lives. The Kray Twins did not have to do what they did as we lived in South Africa and didn't know us.
“What they did for us to raise awareness, money etc was nothing short of amazing.
“I used to receive phone calls from Reggie from prison to see how James was. His compassion and concern were genuine and I will be forever grateful.”
The archive is being marketed by Richard Winterton Auctioneers at The Lichfield Auction Centre, Fradley Park.
It includes six signed crayon drawings by Reg Kray of a sailor, a cowboy, a boxer, a landscape, a boat at sea and a boxing match.
Affixed inside the sketchbook are two Christmas cards. An inscription on a page at the front dated December 3 1989 reads:
The most courageous boy in the world – James Fallon.
God bless. Affection. Your friend Reg Kray xxxxx
Spread across four lots, the collection includes a copy of Reg Kray’s Book of Slang signed “James, God Bless. Affection, Reg xxxxx”.
Reggie Kray pledged to donate royalties from the book to help Jamie – a letter accompanying the lot says: “James, Your book is in all the shops today…”.
Another lot of letters, poems, cards and newspaper cuttings includes a signed drawing of a cowboy by Reg dedicated to James and letters to family friend Bernard King from scores of football clubs and celebrities’ secretaries relating to requests for appearances at charity galas.
There is a further archive of around 50 letters and envelopes from both brothers written to James and his parents in South Africa and to his grandmother in Codsall relating to fundraising.
Mainly from Reggie Kray, in one he mentions being in his cell; another talks of his telephone conversations with friends Fred Dinenage and Garry Bushell.
The archive as a whole is estimated to fetch at least £2,500 when it goes under the hammer on May 15.
Jamie’s death deeply affected both of the Kray Twins.
A letter to James’ parents Roger and Elaine from Ronnie on a piece of lined A4 paper reads: “I am deeply upset and very sorry to hear of young James. It is sad news. I am very deeply sorry.
“If I or my brother Reg can ever do anything for you please let us know.
“I will pray for James that he is now in a better world.
“May God bless. From your friend Ron Kray xxxxxxxxxxxxxx”
A typed letter from Reg says: “I wish to express my sincere deepest sympathy at your sad loss that James has passed away.
“I cannot express how sad I am because I considered James part of my family.
“At the moment of writing I am overcome with grief.
“I am sure that James will be in a place of peace and happiness. I hope you received my last letter. I know that James would wish for the three of you to be happy and that he would wish that I remain friends with all three of you.
“You will all be in my prayers, along with James.”
Jamie’s ashes now lie in Codsall Church. A phrase on his gravestone reads: “James symbolised the word courage.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Reggie Kray, oft-repeated – and infinitely respected.
Jamie’s uncle Paul Nicholson said: “It all shows the compassionate side of these gangsters through such an emotional time for us as a family.
“There is one hell of a story here – it really would make a great movie.”
The sale of the archive takes place at The Lichfield Auction Centre, Wood End Lane, Fradley Park, on Wednesday, May 15. Viewing is on Saturday, May 11, from 9.30am until noon; on Monday, May 13 from 9am-4pm and from 8.30pm on the morning of sale.
Visit www.richardwinterton.co.uk or call 01543 251081.
The sale will be filmed as part of an upcoming episode of Dickinson’s Real Deal and members of the public are invited to come and watch.
Ronnie Kray, who died in Broadmoor Hospital in March 1995 aged 62 following a heart attack, received a life sentence at the Old Bailey for the murders of George Cornell and Jack "the hat" McVitie in 1969.
Reggie Kray was jailed for life for the murder of McVitie and for being an accessory after the murder of Cornell.
Reg was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000. He died from bladder cancer eight-and-a-half weeks later.
The Krays’ notoriety has continued to endure, from the eponymous 1990 film starring Spandau Ballet’s Gary and Martin Kemp to the 2015 movie Legend, with Tom Hardy portraying both twins.
Pictured above, top: Jamie with dad Roger, sister Leanne, mum Elaine and uncle Paul, Elaine’s brother. Below: The Rotary’s Reach for a Dream project enabled paralysed Jamie to meet elephants at the Mambula Lodge reserve in South Africa. Left: The collision left Jamie requiring round-the-clock care.
Forthcoming Sale Dates
27th January: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Sale days: from 8.30am
17th February: 9.00am - 4.00pm
Sale days: from 8.30am