The good people

Horace Camp takes a break from the usual doom and gloom to focus on some of the good people of Guernsey.

IT CAN sometimes be depressing to read this newspaper, which often documents the activities of the worst of our community. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being critical because it is necessary to know that we have our share of bad eggs on this island and often there is a balancing item celebrating the activities of the best of us.

I’m neither an especially good person nor an especially bad one. I don’t expect to be appearing before the court in the foreseeable future for anything despicable, nor do I expect to see a photo of the Governor pinning an MBE to my jacket anytime soon. And I expect in this rare instance I fit in with the majority of people on this island.

The outliers in this bell curve are the bad people to the left and the good people to the right. And for the purposes of this long-winded and very windy path of a column I will be focusing on those of the extreme far right. In this case the terms Left and Right have no political connotations and if they did the people I’m going to be writing about are probably of the Left.

Our extreme right are probably referred to as ‘do gooders’ by the bad people of the left. I expect that, though given as a slur, they take it as a compliment because it literally describes what they are and what they do. We have lots of them, probably far more than we deserve.

Some are home-grown and others flew in on the wind, often from exotic places like Scotland. One such import is Dr Susan Wilson. She does have an MBE but I’m not in the least bit jealous.

I don’t really know Dr Wilson, with my only face to face being with her trying to clean a wound on my leg which I had left to get into an enormous mess. Hard to bond in such circumstances.

However, I have come to know her and her good works through the medium of Twitter. I am not a person of faith but if I was I would want a faith as strong as the good doctor’s. Religion is not really in these days and the religious are often considered as anachronistic as a Witch Finder General would be today.

I know little of her views, only that her praise for a god who she believes made this wonderful world for us inspires even this cynical old atheist. But it’s not her religion but her actions which make her one of our good people.

Way back she founded the Tumaini Fund to care for thousands of orphans and widows in Tanzania left destitute by an uncontrolled Aids epidemic.

She may not be helping people in the Bailiwick, except by cleaning up their festering leg without being too judgemental, but the help, joy and hope she has brought to forgotten children shines through her tweets. The initial children helped by Tumaini are now leading productive lives and from the replies she gets from them and Twitter updates on their lives they are obviously giving back some of the help they received to others.

It is not an exaggeration to say that to them Dr Wilson is their Mother Theresa.

There may be others equally as good as the doctor but they haven’t crossed my path. The work she does isn’t cheap and Guernsey has been kind to the fund but I fear with cost pressures charity may be the first thing to go. Perhaps before things get too bad you could slip the Tumaini Fund a tenner while it still has some value.

Some say charity begins at home so if you are one of the heartless kind who don’t want to help Tanzanian orphans then I’m going to give you no excuse for keeping your money in your pocket.

We have many fine charities on this island but as you know I’m not one for research or facts so taking the easiest option I want to introduce you to an old mucker of mine from finance days.

I say introduce but she’s never out of the news. Back in the day, when I initially thought she was some empty-headed flibbertigibbet and she thought I was some pompous, arrogant rear end (one of these definitions was accurate), it never ever crossed my mind that she would become a saviour of the underdogs of our society.

I’m talking about Karen Blanchford, a born-again good person with fire in her belly to right wrongs and champion those who need championing.

Her dogged and dedicated support of the differently abled – you see I am getting a bit PC in public – undoubtedly has put her well on a path for an honour.

I won’t be around in 30 or 40 years when she finally gets recognised but I’m pretty sure it will happen.

Well blow me down if Karen hasn’t taken a bit of a turn of direction. Again, the last person I would expect to be a hoary-handed daughter of the soil now has her hands deep in pots of ethically sourced, sustainable compost as she bosses around the people at Grow.

I know she will be good at the bossy bit and I expect she has at least a green thumb, even if she doesn’t have green fingers. Grow is a tremendous operation which delivers on so many levels. But like everything in our capitalist world it needs money to keep going. Next flag day perhaps you could drop that crumpled tenner into the collection pot?

Why am I writing about good people, you ask?

Well, I know I will struggle to get to the top of the Most Read stats on this paper’s website with a ‘good news’ piece because misery is the best type of click bait. But I’ve grown tired of bad news, all of it man-made and all of it instigated by some politician somewhere.

I know not all politicians are bad people, not even all of our politicians. But the few rotten apples sour the whole barrel. I can’t physically eject them from the Assembly but I can provide them with better role models of the type who actually change people’s lives for the better.

It was suggested to me that we should replace all our deputies with the heads of our major charities. I say no to that. No matter how good a person is or how good their intentions are, the dark side of politics and government will drag them down and remove their power to actually help people.

Regular readers, please don’t despair. Misery will be back in a fortnight.

Take care.

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