Monday, 8 March 2010

Mothers Day?

I recently received a message from a company called 'Flying Flowers' urging me to order flowers for Mothers Day. I've used them before (they are very good) but I just sent back an email saying my mum died years ago. Well, blow me down. I got a very courteous and apologetic reply. Now that is what I call "service". And of course, I will use FF again!

A number of weeks ago I did a Radio interview on BBC Radio 5 Live and a couple of days later received a most abusive email from someone saying I was encouraging vigilantism (if there is such a word) and that I shouldn't be unkind to child abusers (yes , right!) Well, I emailed this person back asking them to listen to the Radio broadcast again (because it was on BBC i player) and telling me where I had said these things - because I hadn't -but all I got back was more abuse and a threat that this person was going to have our lottery funding stopped.

Now you know why I constantly say that napac (and survivors and children) has enemies. There are a lot of abusers out there and we have to be on our guard. As some of you may have spotted recently the British False Memory Society (another dangerous group) have written to the Church of England urging them not to recommend a book called The Courage to Heal. Well I've never read this book but I have heard from countless survivors over the years how it has helped them............heal from abuse. Surprise, surprise then, the BFMS want it removed from bookshelves.

But it's not all bad news!! It is March already (you were warned about me and blogs!) and I haven't written anything since the beginning of the year. It's not that there's nothing to report it's just that there is so much going on I just don't get time. But yes, there is huge amounts of good news. Our lottery grant has now kicked in (we love those people!) and we now have five, repeat FIVE full-time members of staff. But just as importanly we have a whole new bunch of volunteers who have come on board as I type. And this is just as well as the Support Line continues to ring. Can you believe that last Monday we had 350 calls to the line - yes 350 in one day. We still haven't figured out why that happened on that Monday but the previous day (Sunday?) we had no fewer than 3 mentions in 3 different Sunday that might have accounted for some of it. Anyway...............we need still more volunteers so if you can spare two hours a week.....give our Dawn a call (Dawn is our Volunteer Coordinator). Or email her: She'll send you an application form. The pay is non-existent but the rewards are huge!!

What else to bore you with? My bike. I haven't ridden to work in 2010. How depressing is that? My wheel collapsed and I bought a new wheel in December then in early January I discovered a crack in the frame. And it's still there. And it's been my excuse for not riding to work. However, recognising that I was starting to ballon into a middle aged slob (again) I decided to try running instead. Yes I know, 8/9 miles is a ridiculous distance for a non runner but I have started doing it. I've started running home from work. The first time I did it, two weeks ago, it took me one hour and 48 minutes. Next outing it took me 1hr 28mins (quite a reduction) and last Friday it took me 1hr 30. So, that would seem to be my average. However, I am going to attempt to reduce that by a few minutes this week then contact the British Olympic selectors to adise them of my availability for 2012!

Talking of Olympic feats. We have two heroes who are fundraising by undertaking quite ridiculous events in the coming months. David Livingstone is running the London Marathon and John Griffiths is riding one of the biggest mountain routes of the Tour de France. Both these men clearly need counselling but as they are doing it to raise money for napac I hope they achieve their goals and raise much needed funds for us..........then perhaps they could get some therapy!!

Thanks men.

Well, as much as I would like to continue writing I must get on with some work. Oh yes. Worth a mention. The Mikhailovsky Ballet Company (yes I hadn't heard of them either!) are coming to London in July (14th) and their opening evening at the Coliseum, Swan Lake, is a potential fundraiser for napac. If you are interested in coming along please get in touch. It's the ballet. It's not cheap BUT it will be a spectacular night out.

I will try not to leave it so long next time. Have a great March. Spring is on the way.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Happy New Year

We are more than a week into the new year so I thought it time to say "HNY" to those I haven't already spoken to. And what a cold one we've got. I haven't ridden the bike for two weeks and see little prospect of getting to work on it anytime soon. Yesterday it took me over two hours to get here by public transport. I don't know. A bit of bad weather and everything falls apart. But not NAPAC. Oh no, it will take a bit more than sub zero temperatures and 3 feet of snow to close us down. Ok! no it won't. But we are all doing our best to keep the service running and I can't thank enough, the amazing volunteers who have been battling the elements to get in. I have to repeat something I said a while ago..........we are truly blessed.

Our Christmas party was a great sucess, the best yet I've been told. We ate, drink and got very merry. Actually I've just remembered one of our voluteers took some group photos. I must try and find out whether they are legal ie can they be shown to the general public?

On Sunday, weather permitting, I am taking part in the The Big Questions on BBC1. It's Nicky Campbell. Good chap. Not sure I'll get to say very much but you know I always try to stick my oar in if possible. If you have nothing better to do then tune in at 10am. I have to say however that a so-called friend of mine suggested I wear something 'slimming' as TV piles on the weight. That wasn't very nice was it? I know I'm overweight but don't need reminding of it. Still, I forgive him! He's probably just envious that I'm getting another 5 minutes of fame! Envy, there's an interesting term. Aren't we all a little envious of others at some point? Come on, be honest. it's part of being human. My favourite Christmas presy is undoudtedly my signed copy of Mark Cavendish's autobiography. When I read of his exploits on the road, of winning stages of the Tour de France, I was a little bit envious. Could that have been me? (of course not) but it was a dream I always had so yes, I am a little envious of Mark. But what to do with envy? Well, turn it into love. I love Mark Cavendish! He is a brilliant cyclist and I wish him all the very best. He is a role model. He is a clean living lad and he has an amazing gift. The other thing I love about him is his selfless praise of his helpers and supporters. I love how he equates winning big races to scoring the winning goals in the Cup Final. The scorer gets the glory, but he couldn't do it without the support of his team Well done Mark. And good luck to all our amazing racing cyclists as they set out to take the roads and tracks of the world by storm. I'm right behind you..................miles behind you!

Finally, please spare a thought for our friend and Patron Sara Payne. Sara was taken very ill just before Christmas. You might have seen it on the news? She remains very unwell and in need of our love, support and prayers. We send her our very warmest wishes and look forward to a full recovery. Likewise, remember our other Patron Shy Keenan. Shy is well, thank God, but she is Sara's best friend and we need to support her to. Come to think of it, we all need to support each other. 2010 is going to be a great year for napac and all who sail in her.
Keep in touch with us and if you haven't visited in the past think about doing so this year. We would love to see you (with cheque book in hand..........only joking!)

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

White Christmas?

Yes, it is snowing in London. How amazing is that? It rarely snows before Christmas so I bet the odds against a 'white One' will be slashed at the bookies today.

The ride home will be interesting! Scary, but intersting. It's been a while since I cycled in snow. Think I'll leave early!!!

Stay warm.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

We've moved!!!

But as I said in my last blog, our correspondence address remains the same so if you want to write in and you don't know where we actually are (because we only give our home address to friends and family...........and those with money) then it is still NAPAC 42 Curtain Road. London EC2A 3NH.

Did you see me on BBC TV News Channel on Sunday? No. Well go to the back of the class. I was talking about the scandal of the Catholic Chuch abuse cover-ups in Ireland. I tried to be balanced but it was hard. I was brought up as a Roman Catholic and the vast majority of them are fine Christian people.............BUT.........they've been lead by wolves in sheeps clothing and it's about time the people took back their Church from the devils' people who seem to run it.

Enough of that. I start to get angry and slam the key board when I think about priests and others abusing children.

And I just read that Vanessa George (nursery nurse!)has received an indeterminate public protection jail sentence for her hideous crimes against little tots. I hope the judges comment is right and that this woman will not see the light of day until the 'experts' deem her not to be a threat to children any more.

Well Christmas is fast approaching and I cannot believe how nice our new little office is. It's almost luxurious...........though I do miss our former neighbours.

Last year the staff Christmas dinner was in our local Weatherspoons at Elephant and Castle. This year and to celebrate our Big Lottery grant we are considering our on-site Italian restaurant. The foods pretty good and they laid on a great spread for our volunteers' thank -you bash. Unfortunately my stomach was thwarted once again as I was committed to going out for a meal that evening with my cousin so was unable to pig out as I usually do.

And now the time is near. Yes, you guessed's lycra time!! This place is great. We have a proper secure bike shed (it's actually a bit like Fort Knox) and hot showers. I can't wait for summer. It's freezing out there today and although the Old Kent Road must be wondering what's happened to me it is now the dreaded South Circular that has to deal with the flash of yellow that is me.
Stay warm. Stay safe. Stay out of my way!!!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Dressed up as a gorilla.

Did you hear about the chap who, deparate for work, responded to an add at the local zoo. On arriving he was told that the job was to dress up as a gorilla and pretend to be one. The zoos resident gorilla had died and they couldn't afford to replace him. (or perhaps they came to realise that these creatures belong in the wild) Well he took the job, got dressed up in his gorilla outfit and got on with it. In fact he played a brilliant part and one day his boundless swinging and energy catapulted him into the cage next door...................which turned out to be the lions den. Upon seeing the lion coming towards him he screamed for help to which the 'lion' replied "shut up you fool or we'll both lose our jobs"

I like that. There is a moral there somewhere but being a bit slow I haven't spotted it yet.

You know, the one downside of doing this job of mine is the realisation of how often we get things wrong, well to be precise how often I get things wrong. It could be a miss-worded email, forgetting to return a call............all sorts of things, just letting someone down. It's rarely intentional but it happens. I just hope that when we get things wrong, the person wronged will forgive us and accept that we are no different to any of our brothers or sisters. There's a great line in the Bible (don't worry there isn't a bashing on the way!) where a bunch of people are about to throw stones at a prostitute. Jesus turns to the angry mob and says 'let the dude who ain't done no wrong throw the first stone'. The mob drop their stones and walk away.
Need I say more?
Have an awesome weekend. We are leaving these offices within the week (our postal address, 42 Curtain Road EC2A 3NH remains the same) so a few of us are going next door for a pint....or three. So no lycra tonight. The Old Kent Road will not see the flash of yellow that is usually me!!

Thursday, 5 November 2009


Did you do your homework and find out what who the soroptimists are? No? I thought not. Well the Skipton branch of this fine body of professional women turned out to be a very nice group indeed. I just did my usual stuff. Talked about how napac started, what we do, how we do it etc. I got a great reception and the feedback I received was that I was the best speaker they'd had this year. And then Helen had to go and spoil it by pointing out I may have been the only speaker they've had this year!! Thanks H!!!

But to more serious matters. No, this business we are in is serious enough so please allow me to just indulge myself with my usual irrelevant banter. Yes, Skipton was great. And next year I am going to speak to their sister branch in Keighley. Sister is the clue. Soroptimists get their name from the Latin (or is it Greek?) for sister (Soror) and optima (the best) hence - best sisters. See you've learnt something today! There are about 100,000 worldwide and it started in California in 1921.

Getting this lottery grant (see last blogs) is quite amazing. It's changed my life. I was at a function at Boris Johnson's place on Monday evening - City Hall, London and every time people asked "where do you get your funding" I grinned and said "the magnificent Big Lottery fund". And I just kept grinning and it wasn't just the wine, which being an nspcc function, was limitless and very nice. Ed Balls the Education Secretary was there as was Sir Christopher Kelly. Chris is now well known for his review of MPs expenses but he is also Chair of Trustees at nspcc. A nice chap I have to say. As, it seems, is the new Chief Executive of nspcc, Andrew Flanagan. I asked him for an early meeting and was a little surprised that he hadn't heard of napac. Why should he I hear you say. Well, as you may or may not know, napac's registered office is at 42 Curtain Road, the head office of nspcc. As we are the only other charity to be registered there I would have thought someone would tell the incoming Chief Exec about us. But no. He's been there nearly a year and hasn't heard of napac! Strange that, since there is somewhere between 8 and 18 million abuse survivors in this country. Strange and quite worrying. As were a few things said to me that evening by one or two individuals. You'd think nspcc staff would know something about abuse wouldn't you? I mean that's what they are in business to prevent isn't it? And as Ed Balls pointed out they have been around for 125 years.

I couldn't stop myself mentioning to Mr Flanagan and one or two others, that it's only when the nspcc is headed up by survivors of abuse (they use the word 'cruelty'not abuse) will it really get stuck into preventing abuse......rather than just talking about it. We'll see. I was impressed by what the new boss said but it's actions I'm intersted in. With a million kids still suffering abuse each year in this country something needs doing.

What else can I tell you? Well, we are moving offices.....again. We are just going from one part of London to another but the new premises are a lot nicer and a little cheaper. We also won't be sharing anymore and that's good news. Our current neighbours are wonderful but we are a bit noisy and they deserve their peace and quiet! We hope to move in early December.

We are pressing on with our plans to set up nationwide support groups and are having a working party meeting this weekend. We also continue to forge strong links with prisons and next week I am spending two days at HMP Manchester (okay, okay, I got sentenced to two days for being drunk and disorderly at the above mentioned function) when I hope to organise some further training for staff and prison officers. I've been to HMP Manchester (or Strangeways as it used to be called) a few times and I have to say the staff are a nice bunch, at least the ones I've met.

Finally. We continue to be blessed with an influx of wonderful new voluteers and that makes me very happy. The lottery funding will enable us to take on more full time staff next year too so I think it fair to say that it's onwards and upwards for this little charity. In fact we are not so little any more! Only the other day I was reminiscing (sorry I don't know how to spell that and this doesn't do spell-check) that it doesn't seem so long since I was doing all this from my bedroom - on my own! Actually, it is quite a long time ago......I'm just getting old and forgetful. But not too old to show a clean pair of wheels to those boy-racers on the Old Kent Road......................talking of's Lycra time again! Have a great weekend and thanks for being our friend.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Now you know!

There I go again. Getting out of that blogging habit. And sadly I haven't got time to do one now and because I'm working tomorrow (yes Saturday!) I need to go home. Loads of exciting stuff going on at napac and I will try and update you next week. But it won't be Monday or Tuesday as I'm going to Skipton to talk to the local Soroptimist group. Now there's a new one for you. This weeks home-work.............find out who the Soroptimists are............and no! they are nothing to do with the Klu Klux Klan! But don't get me started on the facists. I lost an uncle and a grandad fighting tyranny.
Have a good weekend.............if you happen to be reading this on Friday otherwise just have a good!
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