An abuse survivor has bought his first ever Christmas tree - after years of trauma at a notorious residential school in Fife left him "terrified" of the festive season.

Fighting back tears, Dave Sharp, said: “We had it beaten into us that were not deserving of Christmas.”

The 62-year-old suffered repeated attacks by priests at the former St Ninian's School in Falkland, Fife, during the 1970s.

He is hoping his decision to celebrate this year will be a message of hope to others living with the legacy of abuse.

Dave, who now lives in Northamptonshire, where he runs charity SAFE - Seek And Find Everyone - added: “I spent my first 16 years in care and many people know what happened to the children of Scotland in these homes.

Dave is one of Scotland's leading historic abuse campaigners who has supported 100s of survivors in recent years

“The truth is, I don't remember one single Christmas during this time.

“Since then, I have always been terrified of Christmas and I have always spent this time on my own, avoiding anything to do with it.”

Before being moved to St Ninian's, Dave was looked after by nuns at the Nazareth House orphanages in Kilmarnock and Lasswade, as a result of his mother dying just after he was born.

This year he said he is determined to enjoy himself, even if Covid-19 restrictions mean not seeing family.

He explained: “I am isolating in England, I have not seen my family for months and things are not looking too good for the near future, so I made the decision I was going to make a real effort to enjoy Christmas and to buy a Christmas tree and make every effort to enjoy it, even though I am on my own.

“It is a challenging time because I am dealing with suppressed emotions but my message is that we can overcome.”

Dave shared a video on Twitter of his living room, which is tastefully decked out in festive decorations.

He said amid all the bad news around coronavirus, there are positive stories to be told.

He added: “This year during lockdown I have been in contact with dozens of survivors who have had different reactions to this pandemic.

“Sadly, some have taken their own lives because it has been too much for them.

“In the survivor community we are losing children and adults all the time but there are also a lot of positive stories coming out where survivors are actually thriving through this period.

“We are in a safe, secure environment and this has also allowed many survivors to spend more time than usual on their own and actually start to deal with their own issues at their own pace and with no-one telling them what to do, and in the safety of their own home.”

St Ninian's School, in Fife, is currently run by a new, award winning, organisation that has no links to the original owners or Christian Brothers.