Written by – Susan Hatton
In the days of the Industrial Revolution
Rochdale for textile was known.
In cottages, cloth for a pittance was woven
Then into expensive clothing sewn.
But gradually lifestyles changed.
The weaving of cotton ceased.
Rochdale became a residential town
And its population increased.
Let us take a trip to Rochdale town
Birthplace of The Co-op and weaving
But later on a den of sin
So awful it’s beyond believing.
Life was good in Rochdale Town
At least so it seemed from the outside
But there were whispers and nudge and hints
Of gangs making young girls sad inside.
Underage girls were groomed for sex
They knew not where to turn
Young girls, just into their teens
Could tell no one of their fear and concern.
The gangs, who kept a low profile,
Used trafficking, rape and abuse
Silence was bought by bribes and threats
By men evil, debauched and defiled.
Greater Manchester police knew of the gangs
But money was short, other cases to handle
So it took a detective turned whistle blower
To expose the Rochdale Scandal
Maggie now works with victims of grooming
(See Three Girls and Betrayed Girls on TV)
She has formed a foundation to help survivors
And is acting in loco-parenthesis in place of you and of me.
It is called The Maggie Oliver Foundation
To help survivors ‘Turn Pain into Power!
To support people subjected to sexual abuse.
To get therapy and advice in their desperate hour.
The centre will be open to all faiths
Other centres will spring up in due course
They will be havens of peace and helpfulness
Bastions of hope against a former dark force.
So let us laud and applaud these sanctuaries.
Let us shout it aloud ‘May they do well’?
For they will provide a safe haven for the vulnerable
Upholding their motto ‘Never Too Late to Tell’.