O’r Galon : Yn Y Canol

S4C | 1 x 60minutes

When Hero Douglas was 5 years old her parents separated, leaving Hero and her brother Tybalt stuck in the middle of her parents’ divorce battle.

“I was five years old, and my brother was three when my parents divorced,” says Hero who lives with her mum in Capel Curig. “Things were hard for me and my brother, and I didn’t know anyone else whose family had been torn apart like mine. I thought it was my fault, because they rowed about us. I wanted to do this programme to show that children, like me, need more help in this type of situation.”

During this difficult period Hero used music as an escape from her family’s problems. She is a talented harpist and singer, and has won a scholarship to study at Chethams music school in Manchester. We’ll hear Hero singing a song she composed about how she felt when she heard her parents fighting and about feeling split by their battles.

“I wanted to do something that showed my emotions; that’s what I try to do when I’m singing. I still feel sad. I used to compose a lot more about the effect of my parents’ divorce on me; all my songs were about that. But I don’t sing about that much now; I’ve moved on,” Hero explains.

As a child Hero went to discuss her experiences and feelings in counselling sessions with a member of the charity Relate Cymru. As she attended the meetings, she began to realise her parents’ divorce, wasn’t her fault.

“I spoke to a counsellor, and that made me feel more relaxed. I felt so guilty then, because when I was with mum, I felt I needed to be with dad. And when I was with dad, I felt that I should be with mum,” says Hero.

At times, Hero found her upbringing hard, but now she describes herself as ‘happy’. And now Hero’s mum has a new partner, Steve, and Hero is fond of him. “I’m stronger now; I’ve been through sad times”, she says. “It would have been fantastic to have parents who stayed together; that would have been perfect. But now Steve is in our family. When I first met him, I felt Steve was replacing dad. But Steve is lovely, and he’s an important part of our family,” she says.