Things in life may not turn out how you had planned and hoped they would, and it can be a shame when it doesn't, but the biggest shame is not to have tried at all. My book Frenzy may or may not be a world best seller, but I did it so there's no shame there.
This was brought home to me over the weekend when I was sent a post on Facebook by a friend. It concerned a young family who had migrated from Norfolk to Australia two years ago. It hadn't turned out as they hoped because their son was diagnosed with a rare disease, and he has been fighting a terrible fight against cancer ever since. The posting was an auction appeal to raise funds to bring the family home to Norfolk so their son Charlie Ryan www.facebook/charlieryanukfund could spend his last days with his family.
I donated my author's copy of Frenzy signed by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Norwich, and myself to the appeal and I'm glad to say the winning bidder paid more then the face value of the book. Within 36 hours of the appeal going out dozens of gifts had been donated by locals helping to raise money towards the thousands of pounds needed. Unfortunately it won't be enough for the £300,000 it would cost for specialist treatment in Germany, but from this grey cloud at least a small light has shone.
I must admit that I've had to stop a couple of times to shed a tear or two as I've written today's blog because I can't stop thinking about my own son, who is of a similar age, and how I would find life terrible without him being part of it, alongside my daughter and wife.
But, and there is always a but, every grey cloud has a silver lining and the next story goes some way to prove it. I read a wonderful article yesterday in my local paper the Eastern Daily Press www.EDP24.co.uk/news written by Rowan Mantell about the 50th anniversary of the Beeeching report.
For my followers around the world who may not know of this event, Dr Beeching recommended in his report the closure of nearly fifty percent of the railway system in the U.K. At the time the car was the future so the train had to give way. Millions of people were effected by the line/station closures, and tens of thousands, if not hundred's of thousands of people protested against it, but to no avail.
So what happened after all this track that was torn up, stations closed, and to the steam engines sent to the scrap yard? Well the British public did what they always do when they don't agree with authority! They stuck two fingers up to the powers above, volunteered, raised money, campaigned, you name it , they did it, bought the old lines, redundant stations, restored the old steam engines from the scrap yards, and now the U.K has more heritage steam railway's than the whole world put together.
When our German friends Ulli and Heinz flew in from Munich for their very first visit to Norwich we took them to the the North Norfolk Railway www.nnrailway.co.uk and Heinz was just a Frenzy of delight, he looked as if he was a kid who had been given the keys to a sweat shop, he is a steam enthusiast. You see the Germans were wise enough not to downgrade their railway system, but to invest in it, and that's why they have one of the best in the world now, but the other face to this is that that they don't have the same level of steam heritage left as in the U.K.
There are steam buffs everywhere in the world, in America, France, New Zealand even in places like the Ukraine. You can come to East Anglia for two weeks holiday and visit a different steam heritage sites every day, from narrow-gauge up, plus museums, and not visit them all.
So sometimes there is a silver lining behind every cloud, and maybe Charlie Ryan and his family will see one soon.