Chris Fordham has the last word on what makes Christmas work . . .
So here we are again, and what a difference a year makes! Isolation seems to elongate time as we miss friends and family more acutely, the smallest things become grand events as we reset our expectations. On my first trip out after the first lockdown my other half asked me what I was doing dressed so elegantly to go to shopping, ‘I am actually going out, out,’ I replied.
As the stress of this year is soon, I hope to be replaced by an oasis of calm, if not normality (due to Covid) for a couple of weeks over Christmas, I enjoy the fact that the darkest day of the year will soon be behind us, and I have a period of time that I like to use for some quiet reflection, to make plans.
So when I received a call from Bullitt Films, my overactive positivity kicked in and immediately I prepared myself for a cameo performance in Hollywood’s next blockbuster. Within the first five seconds I realised that the idea was probably farfetched, but it turned out to be something far more rewarding. The request that Rachel Stubberfield from Bullitt Films had was a simple one, did I know anyone who would be willing to assist in supplying some festive type lighting for a charity ‘ The Children’s Trust’ ?
Now this is a charity that really makes you think twice. The Children’s Trust runs a range of specialist care, education and therapy services for children and young people from across the UK, including the UK’s largest rehabilitation centre for children with acquired brain injury (ABI), and is based at Tadworth Court in Surrey.
Due to this year’s pandemic many of the kids there were unable to leave and share some time with their families, the staff there do such an amazing job and this request was to add a little sparkle and Christmas cheer to one of the trusts areas.
I knew that a friend of mine, Matthew Kerwick from Hot Mustard Media, had spoken highly of a company, Lights4fun, that supplies festoon lighting and such like, so after he passed me on the contact details of someone useful, the super-friendly and helpful Becky Tasker from Lights4fun agreed that she would be willing to help, and would send the lights that day. In passing that day I mentioned this story to Mathew Allen of Targetti Lighting, who subsequently offered a large colour projector without any questions asked, which was received a day later.
Job’s a good ‘un. You may think that is not really much of a lighting story and to be honest you would be right, aside from the fact that those living at the Trust will hopefully appreciate the look and feel of the lights twinkling in the covered walkway. What strikes me is the decency of people who, given the opportunity, are all to willing to help in a good cause; about how strangers can, at the drop of a hat, put down what they are doing and give some of their time, and of people with courage and determination during this period will be looking after those so much more unfortunate than us,
And if that’s not in the Spirit of Christmas, then I do not know what is.
Grumpy Addendum :
At the time I started to pen this article both ‘The Children’s Trust’ and I were in Tier 3. True to form and, dare I say it, in the manner of a recently released song bearing his name, Boris and this government introduced Tier 4, which meant neither I nor Jane from ‘The Children’s Trust could get to site and take any photos of the lights in use.
No one minds following the guidelines – it’s in our interests, but the government has known about this variant strain since the beginning of December and the political convenience of new rules being introduced when Parliament was not sitting just before Christmas cannot be overlooked. As a result, the images used in this piece are, sadly, stock images, but I look forward to getting there in the New Year to get a few snaps.
This ending encapsulates an experience many of us have had this year, with a lack of clarity and confusion running rife, let us hope the coming year is a little more stable and predictable.
A Happy Christmas to all our readers, I am off now to find a place to stash the large heavy Targetti projector taking up the whole boot of my car!