Man behind the mic: Moved by people’s generosity

Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host -
Peterborough Telegraph's Man behind the mic column by Paul Stainton, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire host -
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It’s easy to be negative about society these days, especially if you believe everything that our self obsessed, self styled, born again, saviour Russell Brand has to say.

The air of pessimism isn’t improved when you pick up the papers, which are filled, day in and day out, with headlines that would make a UKIP parliamentary candidate, in Thurrock, feel slightly uncomfortable.

The Mail seems intent on reporting constant doom and gloom about immigration and is still obsessed with uncovering Princess Di’s mythical killer, whilst the Express is relentless in predicting non-existent, apocalyptic weather events, at least twice a week.

If you throw in the Sun’s daily dose of benefits scroungers, apparently earning more for staying at home than Mr Smith of Paston does for forty hours at Tesco in Serpentine Green, then you can understand why some people might feel slightly downbeat about their fellow man.

But we must not be taken in; we must not lose our faith in others and their ability to do good things, especially at this time of year. If the tabloids had reported the Nativity story for instance, Mary would be suing the owners of the donkey for whiplash, Joseph would have left an extremely critical review of the Bethlehem Inn on Trip Advisor and the Three Kings would have been arrested by Operation Yewtree.

Sure, there is bad news around and atrocities are committed on a daily basis, not least, most recently in Australia, Iraq and Pakistan and of course the CIA could win gold medals for the torture of the illegally detained, but we must not despair, for I have spotted a ray of light, amidst the eerie gloom. I have witnessed the immense grace, goodness and generosity of spirit of the people of Peterborough and I have been truly moved.

In just over four hours on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire last Friday (12th December) we managed to raise £5000 for the Sue Ryder, Raise the Roof Appeal. There were no big donations from bored millionaires or fat cat corporations, this was everyday folk bidding what they could, to help those less fortunate than themselves.

Of course there were some great “money can’t buy” items on offer, kindly donated by local companies and organisations but it wasn’t about that. This was about people coming together to do their bit, however small and it was overpowering.

True, good natured, bidding wars did break out over BBC mugs, Peterborough United scarves and the original glitter ball from Brown’s dance studio on Lincoln Road, but this was more of a feel good Friday than a “Manic” Monday - one gentleman even donated £25, on the proviso that we ring his other half and get her to say she loved him live on air!

The Sue Ryder Raise the Roof Appeal is now over halfway to its target of raising £6million to complete their new building and with the help of the big hearted people of Peterborough, they are now just that little bit closer to achieving that aim. It was an honour to be part of something so special, for a cause that helps the people of this city, when they need it most.

Thank you and Merry Christmas to you all.