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Beaten up by teenage girls 26 years ago

"Leave me alone!" I shouted through gritted teeth. That was my first mistake. She grabbed me by the collar and slammed my head against the brick wall. Her friends started to close in. I'd already sized her up: she was the antithesis of me - tough, street-wise and aggressive - so I decided to run for it. That was my second mistake.

I took a lonely short-cut to the bus station but they could run faster than me, and, in a deserted car park one Saturday afternoon in 1970, five 13-year-old girls and three 10-year-old boys pushed me to the ground and kicked and punched me.

Two people in a car stopped and shouted: "Hey! Leave her alone", and the fighting stopped for a moment. They drove off and the brawl resumed.

Five minutes later the car came back. This time the woman passenger opened a rear door and beckoned to me. Petrified, I scrambled in but the girl who'd hit my head against the wall tried to get into the back seat with me.

I remember bursting into tears as I walked down the drive of our house into my mother's arms. I'd left home, dressed in the latest fashion for 13-year-olds, for Hull Mecca's Saturday morning disco, only to return covered in dirt and bruises.

The next Saturday I went back to Mecca for the last time - in the back of a police car. I pointed out the girl who started the fight, but even as she was accosted by the police, she stuck her head through the police car window to ask how I was, and then spun a story about how we were the best of pals.

My mistake, I think, 26 years later, was to answer back. Another girl used to thump me in the scramble for the school bus but I always ignored her and she and her mates never beat me up.

Bullying is as old as the hills but my thick, auburn hair didn't help. Constantly admired as it was, it also made me a conspicuous target.

Norman Greenbaum was number one at the time with "Spirit in the Sky". I still shudder when I hear it. I also still fantasise about punching the Mecca girl in the face.

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