Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Simon Tan in search for old school chums who made friends despite his ‘grotesque’ look

Please read Simon’s heart-rending story which was featured in The East London Advertiser who is a friend of mine and beautiful inside and out. Thank you, Joanna.

He arrived in Britain with his parents as immigrants from Shanghai unable to speak any English—but went on to make it to university and a career in Whitechall, despite his badly disfigured look and what life had later thrown at him such as a serious incurable chronic disease of colon. The 37-year-old former Whitehall civil servant, now living in London’s East End, has begun a quest to find the three classmates from his old primary school in Southampton where he grew up. The memory of their friendship, he says, kept him going through his lonely years as a social outcast. “I looked grotesque,” Simon told the East London Advertiser. “People were scared of me when I was a child—they took one look and ran the other direction.

Please click here to continue reading Simon’s story

Simon was a pupil at Townhill Park Middle School in Southampton in 1987 and lost touch with his 3 friends Ben, Daniel and Andrew after his parents moved house. If anyone has any information on this, please email Simon at:


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