Professor bullied as a boy at a Rochford school writes book to help other children

A PROFESSOR has described how he was relentlessly bullied through his school years in a new book to help children overcome the problems he faced.

Michael Lacey-Freeman, now 52, has written an 80-page educational book called Egghead describing his experience of being picked on.

He says the aim of the book is to get a clear message across: “If you are a victim of bullying, tell your family. Don’t keep it to yourself, and don’t believe what the bullies say. They don’t know you.”

Mr Lacey-Freeman was bullied while attending Holt Farm Junior and Infant School in Rochford, where he was called “Egghead” due to the shape of his head.

But he has turned the nasty name around and used it as the title of his book.

The story is set in the early 1970s. It is about a young boy who is constantly bullied at school from the age of seven, both mentally and physically. School for this boy is a question of survival – it is about getting through the day.

Patricia Matthews, Michael’s mum, said the book is called Egghead because that is the nick name Michael was given when he was bullied.

She says he was bullied due to having a misshapen head because he was born with a different bone structure.

The 74-year-old, who lives in Rochford Garden Way, said: “He wants to help the other kids. He went through so much. I’m very proud of him.”

Things finally got better for Mr Lacey-Freeman when his teacher suspected something was wrong and convinced him to tell his family.

He is now living in Italy and teaching English as well as writing.

He explained: “The story is mostly true. I should know, because that young boy was me.

“When you are very young, you tend to believe that what others say about you is true. You don’t question it and you have little or no defence. Because of the constant taunts of my peers, I believed that I was worthless, a failure, a freak. I believed that I was unacceptable.

“Because of this, at first I kept it all to myself. I didn’t think I could tell my family – then they would also think that I was worthless. I suffered by myself. I tried to deal with the bullying by making myself as small as possible. I would sit by the window, looking out, waiting for the school day to end.”

Mr Lacey-Freeman said he didn’t want to criticise the school.

He added: “It was a good school with excellent teachers. In fact one of my teachers noticed this small boy sitting by the window, and convinced me to tell my family about the bullying. Once my mother knew, bless her heart, things got a little better. I was no longer alone, and I felt stronger.”

The author added: “If even only one child connects with the story and feels less alone, then I will be happy.”

The book has been very successful so far and sold out on Amazon but is available online at Waterstones and for £8.50.