Next week you have the chance to catch a screening of two powerful, and ultimately life-affirming, films that capture the strength and dignity of the individual human spirit.
The film screenings have been organised by the Aberdeen Group of Amnesty International, in collaboration with the Belmont Cinema.
On Monday 18th February (at 6.00pm) you can see the documentary film Waste Land.
Filmed over nearly three years, Waste Land follows renowned artist Vik Muniz from Brooklyn to his native Brazil to work with the “catadores” – people who pick recyclable materials from the world’s largest rubbish dump, Jardim Gramacho, just outside Rio de Janeiro.
Muniz’s collaborative project with the catadores, as they create photographic images of themselves out of garbage, reveals both the spirit and dignity of the people and the power of art to express their plight.
Waste Land was the winner of the Amnesty International Human Rights Film Award 2010 and of the Audience Award for Best World Cinema Documentary Sundance Film Festival 2010.
On Thursday 21st February (also at 6.00pm) is another chance to see Persepolis – a beautiful animated film version of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel about growing up in Iran, as the country moves from the Shah’s regime to fundamentalist Islamic state.
Events are seen through the eyes of Marjane herself, a rebellious teenager, who chafes against her lack of freedom and expression.
“When I tell people it’s a lo-fi animation, largely in black-and-white, about Iran, they put their heads in their hands and make a low groaning sound. But I’ve seen those same people bounce happily out of the cinema after seeing it as if they had had some sort of caffeine injection.” - Peter Bradshaw, Film Critic, The Guardian, April 2008
The Group will also have a small stall in the cinema lobby prior to each film, so if you want to ask any questions about what we do or find out more about Amnesty International, now’s your chance!
So in the chilly days of February, why not treat yourself to a thought-provoking and inspiring trip to the cinema?
Aberdeen SPSC extends an open invitation to the above event which will take place upstairs in the Blue Lamp at 7:00pm on Friday 24th August.
The evening is part of Aberdeen Against Austerity’s Summer Lecture Series and will feature talks and discussions, on the parallels between the struggle for justice in South Africa and Palestine.
Speakers, Tommy Campbell and Harry Bygate, will address the struggle against South African apartheid in Aberdeen and aspects of Israeli apartheid, including freedom of movement, political prisoners, ‘settlements’, water, access to land and the JNF and energy resources.
Dame Anne Begg, MP for Aberdeen South, has pledged her support to a Guide Dogs’ campaign to highlight the issue of guide dogs being attacked by other dogs and recently met with guide dog owners and their assistance dogs to listen to their own experiences.
Research by the charity has revealed that more than eight guide dogs are attacked every month. These attacks can result in the guide dogs being unable to work and, in some cases, they can never work again.
This can have a devastating impact on the owner as they are then unable to go out independently whilst they wait for a new guide dog.
This also has financial implications for the charity, which pays the full costs of a guide dog – approximately £50,000 throughout its lifetime.
Guide dog owner William Sharkey told Dame Anne about an incident involving his assistance dog Lily:
“As a newly qualified guide dog owner, I was very angry when Lily was attacked by two dogs in Aberdeen city centre. I was particularly horrified that the owner took no action to restrain their dogs and afterwards I didn’t think it was worth reporting to the police as I was unable to identify the owner. The incident really knocked Lily’s confidence and it took some time for her to return to her normal self.”
Although the recent announcement by the Westminster government to introduce compulsory micro-chipping in England is a welcome step forward, there is still more work needed to protect guide dogs and their owners from these vicious attacks.
With concern increasing about the number of attacks by other dogs on guide dogs, the charity is also calling on the Government to give police the power to treat an attack on an assistance dog as seriously as an attack on a person.
David Cowdrey, Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs said:
“There were 147 attacks on guide dogs between June, 2010 and December, 2011.
“We believe that an attack on an assistance dog should be considered as an attack on the person, to reflect the fact that a guide dog is a vital mobility aid and that such attacks are very distressing for people who are already vulnerable.”
Dame Anne said:
“I was shocked to hear of the high number of attacks on guide dogs, as are those constituents who have contacted me about this issue and I will be lobbying the government to ensure meaningful measures are introduced to protect guide dogs and their owners.
“Although the Scottish Government has already rejected compulsory micro-chipping, I hope that they will follow suit to ensure that guide dogs in Scotland are protected.
“I would also call on anyone who witnesses an attack on a guide dog to help the police in identifying the offending owner.”
At the next meeting of Aberdeen CND on Monday 10th April, Jonathan Russell, Chair of Aberdeen CND and also a member of Campaign Against the Arms Trade, will be leading a discussion on the Arms Trade. The meeting will take place at 7.30pm on the Top Floor of the Belmont Cinema, Belmont Street, Aberdeen.
The arms trade is a deadly, corrupt business. It supports conflicts and human rights abusing regimes while squandering valuable resources which could be used to deal with the many social and environmental challenges we face here on Planet Earth. It does this with the full support of governments around the world, in particular the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: the United States, Russia, France, China and the United Kingdom.
These are the very countries which are meant to be our global custodians, but are in fact the very countries which are feeding global insecurity and conflict.
While very few countries sell large volumes of weaponry, the buyers are spread across the world. Other than to the five permanent UN Security Council members, the largest buyers are in the Middle East and South East Asia. The arms themselves range from fighter aircraft, helicopters and warships with guided missiles, radar and electronic warfare systems, tanks, armoured vehicles, machine guns and rifles.
The common misconception is that it is the illegal trade that is damaging, while the legal trade is tightly controlled and acceptable. However, the vast majority of arms sold around the world including those to human rights abusing governments or into areas of conflict are legal and are supported by governments. In 2007 the value of legal arms around the world amounted to 60 billion dollars. The illegal market is estimated at 5 billion dollars: many illegal weapons end up as legal weapons.
The arms trade exists to provide weapons to those who can pay for them. What the buyers do with the arms, what political approval the sales signify, and how money could be better spent appears irrelevant to the arms companies and our governments. The UK Government’s 2010 Human Rights Annual Report identified 26 countries of concern. In that year the UK approved arms licences to 16 of these.
There’s a sense that in the past we were embarrassed about supporting defence exports. There’s no such embarrassment in this Government.
David Cameron was in the Middle East on a high-profile mission to sell arms when the democracy movement started in the Middle East. Selling arms to a country in conflict whether internal or external makes the conflict more deadly and longer lasting.
If there is tension between countries or within a country, then arms purchases are likely to increase this tension and make actual conflict more likely.
Even when conflict has ended, arms, particularly small arms, may remain in large numbers (as in Libya at present), fuelling further conflicts and/or criminal activity.
Every year the UK Government authorises the sale of arms to well over 100 countries. This is hardly surprising given that it is Government policy to vigorously support arms exports. Peter Luff, Minister of Defence Exports in the present UK Government, has stated that:
“There’s a sense that in the past we were embarrassed about supporting defence exports. There’s no such embarrassment in this Government.”
Arms companies and Government are inseparable when it comes to selling arms. The Government’s UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) department is a vital element of UK’s arms dealing. In 2008 the Government opened the Defence and Security Organisation which promotes weaponry on behalf of arms companies. There are 158 civil servants in the Defence and Security Organisation while other non-arms sectors have137 staff. This is despite arms accounting for less than 1.5 Percent of UK exports.
• Arms export jobs as a percentage of total employment: 0.2%
• Arms as a percentage of exports: 1.5 %
• UK Government Research Expenditure Spent on Arms: 27%
• UK trade and investment staff committed to selling arms: 54%
Research carried out for Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) by the Stockholm International Peace Institute assesses the level of subsidy by Government to the arms trade in the UK to be around £700 million a year. In 2010 the UK Government issued 10,850 arms export licences, refused 230, and revoked 14.
Half of the refusals related to proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, with a maximum of 76 being revoked on the grounds that they contributed to internal repression, internal conflict or regional instability. Foreign office embassies also promote the arms sales, as do the Ministry of Defence armed services. Arms fairs are common in the UK and around the world. The governments of host countries provides support for their arms firms.
Arms sales from the UK seem to vary from year to year:
• 2007 9651 million (particularly high because of sales of Typhoon aircraft to Saudi Arabia)
• 2008 4367 million
• 2009 7261 million also high as included Typhoon support services to Saudi Arabia)
• 2010 5819 million
Of the 16 countries identified by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute as locations of major conflict in 2009, the UK sold arms to 12.
Columnist Will Self - “War, the arms trade and the abuse of language”
BAE arms are the UK’s main arms company and has military customers in over 100 countries. BAE’s focus over the past few years has been on increasing sales to the US, specifically targeting equipment for conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and supplying Euro fighters and other arms to Saudi Arabia. BAE routinely supplies countries which the UK Foreign Office considers as having ‘the most serious wide-ranging human rights concerns’.
The casualties of conflict are now overwhelmingly civilian, increasing from 50% of war related deaths in the first half of the twentieth century to 90% near the end of the century.
The arms trade affects development both through the money wasted on arms purchased and through the conflicts fuelled by arms.
A study in 2007 by Oxfam of the economic cost of armed conflict to Africa estimated that Africa loses around 18 billion dollars a year due to wars and that armed conflict shrinks an African nations economy by 15%.
As well as the direct effects of military spending, medical costs and the destruction of infrastructure, there are indirect costs on the economy and employment suffers ( this does not take into account the countless human misery caused by loss of life and sustained injuries effecting families and friends as well as the individuals concerned).
The study estimated that the cost of conflicts in Africa since 1990 was equivalent to the aid provided to them by major donors.
Even when conflict is not taking place money diverted to arms is a drain on government resources and takes away from vital spending on health education and infrastructure. The massive 1998 South African arms deals for aircraft, helicopters, warships and submarines cost the country over £8billion. Yet most of the population live in shanty towns and other poor housing and South Africans with HIV/AIDS were told that the country could not afford ant-retroviral medication.
Despite desperate poverty and its recent appalling history of armed struggle, the UK government is actively promoting arms struggle to Angola. The UK government not only approved arms exports to Angola it actively organised an “industry day’’ when HMS Liverpool docked in Angola waters and hosted Angolan political and military officials.
The arms trade causes countless misery in our world; it is a poor use of limited resources which should be used to make this world a better place. We need to question the thinking in the world that believes you only get what you want by force. The five members of the Security Council should start taking on their responsibilities and use conflict resolution rather than warfare to sort the many conflicts that take place both between and within countries.
Curriculum for Excellence has afforded Harlaw Academy pupils the opportunity to embrace Citizenship in more diverse contexts that ever before, and a Staff Working Group on Citizenship was set up almost 3 years ago. For the last year the group has included pupils, who have played a major role in the running of the group and decision-making procedures. Depute Head teacher Aileen Hunter tells Voice readers.
Pupils in the group were very interested in forging a link with pupils in a school abroad, and unanimously favoured the work of RSVP Charity which has as its Trustees several representatives in Aberdeen. This charity supports children in the Bugarama region of Rwanda by providing a daily meal at primary school, and sponsors older children to receive a secondary education at boarding school – “Education today for Zero Aid Tomorrow.”
Harlaw Academy has agreed to sponsor 5 children to attend boarding school for 6 years and the Citizenship Group’s responsibility is to ensure that adequate funds are raised to cover the costs of sponsorship.
Harlaw pupils are allocated to one of 5 Houses – Albyn, Carden, Holburn, Victoria, Waverley – and, as from January 2012, each house sponsors a child – Jeremy, Jean-Pierre, Giselle, Emmanuel, Esther. The initial cost per sponsored pupil was £20 for their starter pack at boarding school, followed by £10 per month for fees for 6 years.
The launch of the partnership with RSVP Charity reached its climax on 19th March 2012 when the entire school population celebrated AFRICA DAY. In the lead-up to the event fund-raising event were organised, for example “Harlaw Spring (and Summer) Clean”, Forest Walk, end-of-term Talent Show, Rowing Challenge, “small change” collections at House Assemblies.
Each of the 5 House Captains selected an African country for their house to represent – Madagascar, Kenya, Morocco, Egypt, South Africa. The Head Boy and Girl, and the Senior Management Team represented Rwanda. On Africa Day pupils were encouraged to dress in the colours of their country’s flag and contribute £1 to RSVP Charity. One pupil dressed as a “mummy” and collected £25 from staff and pupils in the canteen.
Staff from all curricular areas devised class-work to articulate with the Africa Day theme in preparation for an exhibition of material in the school hall which was open to all staff and pupils throughout the day. Each house was responsible for a display of material.
Pupils worked in house groups in class on activities such as population pyramids, investigation of an issue of concern and how it is being resolved (animal extinction, poverty etc), African singing, African literature, mining, African masks, African dancing, African Flags, water-carrying race, letter to Pittodrie Football Club requesting used football boots which will be taken to Rwanda.
The Harlaw PTA expressed great interest in the project.
Canteen staff baked cup-cakes and a large cake iced in the colours of the Rwanda flag. The school technician filmed and photographed pupil presentations, fund raising events, assemblies and displays.
Africa Day was preceded by a series of Assemblies led by the House Captains who introduced their sponsored child and gave a brief profile of their chosen country. The Head Boy and Girl led 3 Assemblies that gave pupils and staff information on Rwanda and the RSVP Charity, and highlighted the background to why the children need our support.
We were thrilled that Jean Main (a trustee of RSVP Charity ), Simon Mbarushimana (also a trustee, formerly a sponsored Rwandan child and now a doctor at A&E in Aberdeen) and our school chaplains attended one of the assemblies.
The events and projects detailed above are all documented in photographs, video footage and a display in the school’s Meeting Room.
The launch of the project, including Africa Day, was reviewed by Senior Management of the school who commented on the scope of awareness-raising among the entire school community. The Harlaw PTA expressed great interest in the project.
The Citizenship group will review the launch at their next meeting in April, and continue to plan for the next stages in the project – direct communication with the sponsored pupils, the prospect of a visit to Rwanda by staff and pupils, and strengthening the links with the school community and RSVP Charity through Jean and Simon.
On March 1st the Aberdeen branch of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign will be hosting three exciting speakers at Aberdeen University: Fathe Kdirat and Itaf Njoum Karma from Jordan Valley Solidarity, and Leehee Rothschild from Boycott from Within (Israel).
Fathe and Itaf, both Palestinians, will be discussing Israel’s destruction of communities and the environment in the Jordan Valley, and the on-going illegal Israeli settlement construction that continues to drive Palestinians from their land.
The Jordan Valley makes up a large section of the West Bank, around 28% in total. It has been one of the worst affected areas of the West Bank during the Israeli occupation, which began in 1967.
The occupation saw the Jordan Valley’s population drop by 88% and was thereafter the site of Israel’s first settlements.
Since the occupation Israel has gone about taking almost complete control of the area. This map (click to follow link) published in December 2011 by the United Nations Office for Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) shows that 15% of the Jordan Valley comprises settlements (blatantly illegal under international law[i]), 27% comprises nature reserves, often used to control natural resources such as water supply (to the detriment of Palestinians) and 56% comprises closed military areas.
In addition, 87% of the Jordan Valley is designated Area C, i.e. under Israeli control. The 1993 Oslo Accords divided the occupied West Bank into 3 sections: Area A, under the full control of the Palestinian Authority (3% of the West Bank); Area B, under Palestinian civilian control and Israeli military control (25%); and Area C, under the full control of Israel (72%). Designating land as Area C gives Israel unlimited autonomy to do as it pleases and to ignore the rights of Palestinians. For example, according to UN OCHA 94% of Area C planning applications submitted by Palestinians were denied between 2001 and 2007.
One of the main focuses of Israel policy in the area is to clear the Jordan Valley of its Bedouin population. In September 2011 the Israeli government announced its plans to expel 27,000 Bedouin from their homes and lands in the Jordan Valley. This process is due to be completed in the next 3-6 years; the initial stages have already begun.
The role of activism, resistance and international solidarity is crucial in the fight to prevent this attempted ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley. Fathe and Itaf will talk on how Palestinian communities and internationals are working together to witness, catalogue and resist Israel’s actions, and the importance of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid Israel.
One crucial component of the BDS campaign is the small but important resistance movement within Israel itself. This includes the campaign group Boycott from Within.
“We, Palestinians, Jews, citizens of Israel, join the Palestinian call for a BDS campaign against Israel, inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid. We also call on others to do the same.” Boycott from Within Website
Organisations like Boycott from Within are operating within a state becoming increasingly reactionary to the growing success of the calls for the end of the occupation, equal rights for Palestinians within Israel, and the right of return for Palestinian (the three main tenets of the BDS campaign). In July 2011 the Knesset (Israeli parliament) passed an anti-boycott bill, criminalising those who support boycotts of Israel or its illegal occupation and settlements.
The bill has implications for individuals and organisations alike; for example companies deciding not to source products from illegal settlements in the West Bank may be barred from government contracts. More recent Knesset bills have turned their attention to NGOs working in Israel, such as groups aiming to promote human rights.
One such law proposes to place a limit on the funding NGOs can receive from foreign governments and institutions, meaning many will be unable to function.
Leehee Rothschild will be speaking about her involvement in internal resistance movements such as Boycott from Within and Anarchists Against the Wall, as well as exploring issues of propaganda within the Israeli education system.
The talk starts at 7pm on March 1st in room 268 in the MacRobert Building at Aberdeen University. For more information contact: Aberdeen@scottishpsc.org.uk
[i] for example see the International Court of Justice ruling 2004, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and UN Security Council Resolution 446
A group of Tibetan monks from the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in South India, on an extensive UK and European tour, will be giving a performance at the Sanctuary, Queens Cross Church, on Monday 21st November. Their performances of masked dance and sacred chant have enthralled audiences from all over Europe.
‘The Power of Compassion’ offers a taste of Tibetan monastic culture with dramatic and colourful costumes, masks and musical instruments – including the great Dungchen or Long Horn, traditionally played from the roof of Tibetan monasteries.
The dances are interspersed with prayers and chants from the monastery using traditional instruments such as bone trumpets, drums and cymbals. The performance has been described as “A psychedelic whirl of chanting, dancing, drums, cymbals and processions” (The Times)
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Tibet was founded by the 1st Dalai Lama in 1447, and became one of the major centres of Buddhist learning with over 6,000 monks and students, and the seat of the Panchen Lama, second only in importance to the Dalai Lama.
Following the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1949, and the 14th Dalai Lama’s escape into exile ten years later, it became impossible for the monks to have freedom to practise their religion inside Tibet. Consequently, several of the monks escaped into exile and re-established their monastery in 1972 in the large Tibetan refugee settlement of Bylakuppe, South India.
Now numbering around 300 monks, the monastery is once again regaining its reputation as a great centre of learning. It is internationally renowned for preserving the unique Tibetan culture and the tradition of masked dance and sacred music.
The UK and European tour in 2011 is organised by the Monastery’s UK charity. Proceeds from the tour are sent directly back to the monastery to support the monks in their day to day work, ministering to the spiritual and physical well-being of the local Tibetan community, and also to help with building projects as their numbers expand.
The performance at the Sanctuary, Queens Cross Church on 21 November will be at 7.30pm with tickets at the door: £8/£6 concession.
Aberdeen 3 – East Fife 3 – East Fife win 4-3 on penalties – 20/9/11
This latest embarrassment will not be altogether unfamiliar to those who sat through similar capitulations against Queen of the South, Queens Park, Dunfermline and Raith Rovers, or even the European humblings against Bohemians and Sigma Olomouc.Philip Simreports.
It’s got to the point where it’s not even surprising any more. On each occasion Aberdeen appear poised to take a step forward, they take two backward.
No matter how many times it happens, it still hurts. So what went wrong? There was a lot more to this result than East Fife’s goalkeeper saving more penalties than Gonzalez for Aberdeen.
One attempt at an excuse is that it was a weakened Aberdeen team. Craig Brown has apologised for making wholesale changes to a side that played relatively well at the weekend – but many of them actually made sense.
David Gonzalez returned to the side after missing the weekend encounter with Kilmarnock due to his wife going into labour, and the return of the first-choice goalkeeper can hardly be said to have weakened the team.
That said, he looked distinctly flat footed at East Fife’s second goal although some would argue that Jason Brown would not have been tall enough to reach Matthew Park’s lob in any case.
Scott Vernon and Darren Mackie were partnered in attack – Brown’s tried and tested front duo – and while it’s debatable whether they have passed that test at least both of them have scored this season. By contrast, Mohamed Chalali has not scored at club level.
Indeed, after Vernon and Mackie were withdrawn for Chalali and Rory Fallon, the Dons seemed to struggle even more to find the way to goal. Only Josh Magennis looked lively – if not particularly dangerous. He found shooting space quite often but invariably shot straight at Mark Ridgers in the visitors goal.
Of the other changes, only Youl Mawene and Isaac Osbourne were missed as Rob Milsom’s recent form, Saturday’s game against Kilmarnock in particular, scarcely merited him a place in the side.
In any case, shouldn’t any eleven players on the first team books at Pittodrie be able to dispatch a side bottom of the second division?
Does this mean that Aberdeen’s second string players are not even second division standard?
To be fair, the Dons did fairly batter the Fifers’ goal. The home side recorded 25 shots on goal. However, too many were driven straight into Ridgers’ arms or sent tamely wide or over the bar. The Dons showed a complete inability to break their opponents down, often shooting from outside the box or even further afield.
Fair play to East Fife. They capitalised on the only three chances they had in the match. That Aberdeen scored the same number of goals from more than eight times the chances is testament to how poor the Dons’ finishing is at the moment.
Almost as much of a worry is the defence, a supposedly SPL standard defence which shipped three goals to a second division side. Oddly enough, Andrew Considine actually had a pretty good game at centre half, and while Rory McArdle didn’t look quite as composed, especially with the ball at his feet, he at least popped up with a goal. Aberdeen’s problems were at full-back.
Strangely this was the first game of the season that Aberdeen have started with two recognised full-backs in that position, rather than having midfielders or centre-backs fill in at one or both. Chris Clark played the majority of his games at Plymouth as a right-back, while left back is Ricky Foster’s strongest position – although Foster himself might argue otherwise. Despite this, the two looked completely and utterly clueless in defence.
Perhaps they were too focussed on going forward – both spent much of the game in the opposition half, swinging in crosses which never quite reached anyone. Whatever the reason, they provided absolutely no defensive cover. Foster usually bails out the centre-backs with his pace – against East Fife, Considine actually had to come to his captain’s rescue on several occasions. Clark looked weak. He dithered pathetically while the Fifers scored their third, and while he thumped into one or two tackles impressively he wimped out of far more.
After a similarly hopeless displays against Hibs and Kilmarnock, the Red Army will be beginning to wonder what happened to Clark while he was in England – and precisely why he’s been signed to a three year contract. It was no surprise to anyone in the stadium when it was he who missed the final fatal penalty.
The biggest failure was one of belief. As the second half wore on it became increasingly clear that the heads had gone down, and that the Aberdeen players simply did not believe they could win the game back. They were out fought and out thought by a team which lost 6-0 at home to Dumbarton a few weeks previously.
Maybe sometimes there has to be a shock result – a giant-killing – as these things simply happen in football. But why do they always seem to happen to Aberdeen? Another year, another humiliation, and once again the Red Army are left with more questions than answers about just where their club is headed.
Two Aberdeen residents are embarking upon a Mini adventure of epic proportions to attend a charity event. Voice’sStephen Davy-Osborne is all set to participate in the event.
Stephen Davy-Osborne and Steven Gerrie will be driving cross-country from Aberdeen to Westward Ho! in Devon, South West England in a classic Mini Cooper, to take part in the annual Legendary North Devon Grand Tour.
Hundreds of Minis will come together to raise money for local children’s charity Children’s Hospice South West.
The event, now in its 17th year, has raised thousands of pounds in sponsorship and donations for the charity, and their North Devon Hospice Little Bridge House.
Event organiser Terry Baker, who has been driving the event right from the very beginning spoke to the Aberdeen Voice about what he thinks makes the event truly unique, encouraging – as they are affectionately referred to in Mini circles – “nutcases” to come back year after year to participate:
“Maybe it is the Mini owners who take part and the incredible amount of money they have raised over the years. Maybe it is the thousands of people who line the streets and wait in lay-bys, stand on street corners and fill the villages and towns just waiting for the Minis to go by.
“Maybe it is the fantastic motorbike marshals who ride ahead and keep all the minis together and close the roads so that we can keep going. Any one of these would make the Grand Tour special, but when you put them all together with a group of very special children and their families from the children’s Hospice you have something that is pure magic and not just for the Mini owners.”
The event takes place over the August bank holiday weekend, taking in some of the finest scenery the South-west has to offer; driving through streets lined with locals and holiday makers alike who have come out in force to show their support for the charity.
The convoy of around 300 Minis drives noisily right up to the front door of Little Bridge House and around the purpose-built roundabout the wrong way, while children staying at the hospice wave them on with flags and banners created especially for the day.
This part of the run is especially poignant, as Terry recounts:
“When we drive through the Hospice we are privileged to see the children having fun; laughing, smiling and waving flags. It is hard to remember that Little Bridge House is a place where get well cards do not work, and that no matter how many hugs you give the special children you can never kiss them better; all the magic in the world cannot change their diagnosis.”
Perhaps it is not surprising that many a driver and co-pilot emerge from Little Bridge House with a lump in their throats.