‘Doctors knew the Primodos risks. We were lab rats’

Kevin was born on Boxing Day morning in 1963 and passed as a small bundle wrapped in swaddling to his overjoyed mother, Pat. It was only later in the day that a doctor took her into another room and peeled away the blankets to show her Kevin’s disability.

“I had a little cry, but I said, ‘He’s my baby and I’ll love him’,” says Pat, 76. “My life after that, looking after him, was a nightmare. He couldn’t walk or get dressed. I’m only 4 ft 4 and it was very hard work.”

The Sixties were tough on the Watson family. Pat recalls how she was driven off the bus when Kevin was a baby after a group of ladies shouted, “That’s her own fault.” Kevin, meanwhile, struggled to make friends and was bullied for his short arms.

“Children are cruel – they say what they see,” he says. “I missed out on a lot. There was a lot more prejudice then. We live in a more thoughtful, empathetic, politically correct world now.”

Kevin’s childhood was punctuated by regular trips to the hospital, including visits to medical conferences where he was observed by upwards of 50 people.

“It was quite traumatic for someone at a young age,” he says. “I have two younger brothers who are 6 ft tall and athletic. You look at them and think, that should have been me. It’s upsetting, but it has made me the person I am.”

Adulthood grew easier, after Kevin accepted he would never realise his dream of being a fighter pilot or train driver. Instead, he passed his driving and motorbike tests, and got a job with the Ministry of Defence. In his mid-thirties, Kevin met Angela at a football match in Grimsby – he was playing, she was giving players physio – and she asked him out. They married and had two children, Jack, who sadly passed away from a heart defect at four months old, and Finlay, 15.

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