I think it’s fair to say that this week’s news has been up there with the all time bad news of the world. Haiti, a devastated country which is in dire need of help. I’ve contributed some money, just a small donation, as I think most people who can afford to should. But on a visit to see my parents this week, my father contributed something entirely different.
As a nation we’re actually pretty good at this old charity lark. Last year we raised over 20 million pounds for Children In Need and a mighty 80 million for Red Nose Day. That’s some mean feat. My father has always had a strange way when it comes to charity though. Remember the Harvest festival at school? Yep me too, sadly enough. I can remember children pouring through the school gates with wheelbarrows full of Marks & Spencer food that their parents had gone out and specifically bought so that they could save a child’s life. And then there was me; with my two tins dragged straight from the back of the cupboard, minus the packaging, that my father had ingeniously labelled with a chunky felt tip pen… as ‘lucky dip’. God only knows which poor blighter got the tins I donated whilst the kid next to him tucked into some sirloin steak. Whoever he was, the tins no doubt saw him off for good. RIP lucky dip tin boy.
Halloween was always another display of his generosity. Every year without fail when children would knock on the door all dressed up and ask politely for a trick or treat, my father would swiftly hand them a leaflet about the real meaning of Halloween. A leaflet! That’s right, children knocked on my parent’s door expecting a fistful of fruit salads and gobstoppers only to be told that they’d burn in Hell for celebrating Satan’s little shindig. Charming.
So this week, whilst I was watching the news about Haiti I couldn’t help but just take a moment to think quietly about how lucky we actually are to live like we do. As the middle aged female newsreader stood centre screen and continued to describe the horrific images, my father shattered my concentration with another act of pure selflessness. “Why would you wear a low cut top if you’ve got no tits?”. Dad, Mum’s hardly Katie Price herself. Mind you, at least her son doesn’t suffer with septo-optic dysplasia, a thyroid problem and the inability to walk without bumping into things.
Sigh. Now I feel I ought to donate to his charity too. Brilliant.