Monday, 8 December 2014

Charity at Christmas

Something a little bit different for this post, A guest appearance by my eldest daughter Amanda. This was her homework over the weekend. I think for a 12 year old it is a superb effort. Well done Amanda.

Charity at Christmas

We all love a good gift. No matter how big, small, cheap or expensive it is, we relish the joy of tearing away at the concealing wrapping paper to reveal the prized gift. I remember receiving the book ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ and being utterly elated. I’m sure you’ve all received a present with which you were overjoyed. But what about the poor children in Africa? What about the children who might not even make it to Christmas? What about them?

There are 2.2 billion children on Earth, 1 billion of those children live in poverty. That is ridiculous! That number concerns me and it should definitely concern you. Of the 1.9 billion children in the developing world, 1 in 3 has no adequate shelter. 1 in 5 has no clean water, that’s an outrageous 20%. And every seventh child has no access to any healthcare. These statistics have to change.

As well as the unfortunate children in Africa, there are children elsewhere in the world that, sadly, suffer from a terminal illness. Their lives are a constant uncertainty. Today could be one of those children’s last day. One of these terminal illnesses is cancer. For some cancer patients, all they want is hair, some want more time with family, whilst others simply long for a cure.

Imagine you lost both your parents to a disease. Imagine you have no food or clean water. Imagine it’s Christmas and you’re alone. This is what some children have to endure. They want the basic necessities of life, things that all humans should automatically receive. No child should ever have to want something that should be theirs!

Now picture this: you have no hair. You can’t go out with friends. And today could be your last day. How would you feel? I couldn’t be so mentally strong as to live through that. Why ask Santa for jewellery, a new phone or an album from your favourite artist when all you really need is a cure?

Luckily, charities are here to help. So instead of spending your Christmas money on your personal luxuries, why not give it to children who will benefit massively from it? Children who need food, water, shelter or a cure? Why not be charitable this Christmas? I guarantee you’ll make a difference. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Lies, damned lies and statistics*

I used to joke that 86.67% of statistics were made up on the spot. Well, I cannot help but be reminded of that joke when I look at the leaflet recently posted through my letterbox.

I find it incredible that City of York council had the courage to print this leaflet. Why? 
How can they possibly profess to know how much rubbish York residents produce each week? 
How do they know what percentage of our kitchen waste is recycled in our own gardens? 
How have they calculated a figure with two decimal places (43.63%) for such an uncountable thing? 
I have written to the council to find out how they came up with this figure. 

*The phrase "Lies, damned lies and statistics" is attributed to Mark Twain. He, however, always said it was from Benjamin Disraeli, despite it not appearing in any of Disraeli's works. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

I've won a prize.

Just received my prize for winning a British Council competition. I must say I'm very pleased with it. I had originally thought I was only getting the book in the middle of the photo. All the others, plus pens, a DVD, and a bag were a complete surprise. I am particularly looking forward to reading the main prize - "The Edge of the Sky" by Roberto Trotta. It was written in only the 1000 most common words in the English language and it attempts to explain all there is in the Universe. A review coming when I've read it.