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Trisha Goddard: Teacher told me to toughen up after I suffered racist abuse

Trisha Goddard (Ian West/PA)
Trisha Goddard (Ian West/PA)

Trisha Goddard has described the racist abuse she suffered as a child and how a teacher at school told her she needed to “toughen up” because “we don’t want people like you here”.

The talk show host and TV presenter, 63, said she was bombarded with racist name-calling as a child, and told Piers Morgan’s Life Stories: “I got really good at my primary school going in the loo. You get toilet paper and you stuff it in your mouth so they don’t hear you crying.

“Because if they hear you crying while they’re chanting the n-word outside, then you’ll get it worse.”

She added: “I remember the worst time was in the canteen and a boy – we used to get our meals on a tray – and he went like that with his fists (hits the underside of the tray in the air).

“So all the food flew off the tray and everybody laughed. And I was so embarrassed and I picked up everything and I did the Oliver Twist thing, I went back to the dinner lady.

“I said ‘Excuse me’ and she said ‘No, you’ve had’.

“And everyone was laughing. So I got up, I ran out and I sat on a step and I was crying and crying.

National Television Awards 2020 – Arrivals – London
Trisha Goddard (Isabel Infantes/PA)

“I must have been nine or ten, crying and crying. And I can see this teacher now, blond hair, goofy teeth. He sat down next to me and he said, ‘You’ve got to understand, you’ve got to toughen up. We people in this country, we don’t want people like you here. So if you’re going to stay here, you’re going to have to toughen up’.

“When I was nine years old and my teacher, who watched me get hit, was telling me this was my life.

“I thought I’d failed. I thought I wasn’t being English enough.

“I remember that distinct moment because I thought, ‘No one’s going to look out for you for the rest of your life. You are in charge of you’.

“I never told my parents because I thought I would be letting mum down.”

Goddard also described trying to take her own life after she suffered a breakdown following the birth of her daughter Billie.

Asked by Morgan how serious she was about ending her own life, she said: “Everybody is serious. There’s no such thing as a cry for help. Everybody’s serious if you get to that stage.

“And to me it was about just not wanting to be or feel that pain anymore.

“What brought me back is my baby needed breastfeeding.

“And there was a nurse there called Elaine. And Elaine, if you’re watching this, you know, you saved my life. Never mind about the psychiatrist, this one nurse.

“People were talking about taking my children away from me and that would have been the end.

“And Elaine brought toys for Billie to play with. She allowed me to be a mum and she watched and she told me I was a good mum.

“And that reminded me of my meaning, that I wasn’t useless or hopeless. All the voices in my head that told me I was a failure and this one nurse was the one who got through to me.”

Piers Morgan’s Life Stories is on Thursday at 9pm on ITV.

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