A difficult childhood lead to turbulent years as an adult for Jimmy Lee. He turned his life around however and now in his 70s is performing around the country a music show called The Runaway.
It’s a revealing and intimate way of portraying how the musician survived terrible times, and he tells his story through the songs he has written himself; he brings this remarkable and emotional presentation to the Under Ground Theatre on Saturday April 30 from at 8pm. Tickets £12.50.
Jimm, who lives near Pulborough, experienced trauma in his young life few would have survived.
At the age of four he was placed in an orphanage in Brighton while his desperate mother put his baby brother on a train with a note asking someone to take care of her child. “I never saw him again,” said Jimmy, “But we found him 42 years later.”
By the time Jimmy was nine he had been through nine homes and eleven schools, and at 14 he ran away to join the Navy. He was sent to the notorious HMS Ganges where he endured a harsh regime and cruel treatment. The next six years passed with regular detentions, exhausting punishments, solitary confinements, and 12 months imprisonment in HMP Corradino, Malta. He was subsequently dismissed from the service and returned to civilian life. Jimmy found when he was writing biographical details down ten years ago he was “absolutely astounded” at all he had been through. “That seemed to continue through my life. I didn’t settle down until I was about 36 years old when I had finished travelling aorund the world; by then I had been to Ireland and got into trouble with the IRA, I had been to America and toured Europe. I was always searching for something that was missing. i found it fortunately and had a family and some lovely children.”
Having discovered music early on Jimmy has written this show around his life using his experiences as the basis of his songs to tell an extraordinary story. It’s far from depressing though as he says audiences engage with The Runaway and he commented: “I think I have been able to realise all the ambitions submerged for many years. And somehow people walk away from this feeling very uplifted I feel very inspired by their response.”