Sunday, 26 August 2012

Thank God For Those With Vision And Humanity

It's been a while! This month has literally been a washout to match our Cumbrian weather and next month isn't looking all that fruitful either. So much going on and I can already feel my writing being pushed further away. It's a mental battle trying to maintain balance in work and life but it's one which must be won.

The summer it seems has been taken up with the Olympics. Brilliant as they were I must confess that never before have I watched so much sport. Clearly because we are the host country, Olympic mania has evolved and so it was difficult to avoid the Games each time I turned on the television.

Equine sports is my thing. I love horses and used to have my own scatty, loving chestnut mare, so it was fantastic to watch our British Equine Olympians having a fruitful time, winning medals. (yes, more than one)

And don't forget the diving. I made myself watch those events. I'm not into diving by any means but I wanted to show my support for our Olympic hopefuls, one young man in particular -Tom Daley. He is fantastic and has so much ahead of him so it will be exciting to watch him at the next Olympics. Having overcome his own personal tragedy, he gave a fantastic performance winning Bronze for his country. Good on you, Tom and all the best.

Now it's the Paralympics. My ignorance of the origins of these events came to the forefront recently, with the BBC's dramatisation of The Best of Men. It highlighted the arrival of Dr Ludwig Guttman in 1943 to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. He was to care for the spinal injury patients who were injured during World War Two. He basically revolutionized spinal injury rehabilitation, turning the lives of many around, showing them they did indeed have purpose and quality of life. He was to be their beacon, lighting their path to their future, albeit a different future, but a life worth living. He was the herald who began to break down barriers at a time when the common attitude was to think that such injured people were worthless, damaged and should be shut away from the eyes of the world.

Statue of Ludwig Guttman at Stoke Mandeville Stadium

Ludwig Guttman was a Jew who fled Nazi Germany just prior to the beginning of war. Prior to that he was the director of a Jewish hospital in Breslau. He ordered his staff there to admit anyone to the hospital, following the violent attacks on Jewish people on the 9th November 1938, which was known as Kristallnacht. By doing so, he saved 60 people from being arrested and sent to the concentration camps.

In 1948 he organised the first Stoke Mandeville Games, beginning on the first day of the London Olympic Games. It was an event which grew tremendously and in 1961, Dr Guttman founded the British Sports Association for the Disabled, later known as Disability Sport Events. He was a determined man of vision and a true humanitarian and we are blessed that he fled to our shores some 73 years ago.


  1. Hi Joseph, and thank you very much. Great to see you. Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

  2. Hi Suzy,
    I’ve been browsing and noticed that you review YA books.

    I am a children’s author based in the UK with eleven books under my belt, eight of which are children’s novels, all ranging from about 25 000 to 30 000 words.I'm not sure exactly which age range YA covers, but my books fall mainly into the 9 - 12 bracket.I wondered if I could interest you in any of them.

    I’m not sure how this process works, since I’ve never done it before! Perhaps you would be kind enough to leave me a comment here to let me know if you’d be interested (I don't want to make my email address public), and, if so, how I would go about getting the book/s to you. They are all in Kindle format and are available on Amazon UK and US.

    For now, here’s my author page link. You might like to have a look to see whether anything I’ve written appeals!

    Thank you for your time,

    Helen Laycock

  3. Hi Helen,
    Thanks for getting in touch. Young Adult generally is from age 12 upwards. However, I'd be able to review some of them for you. Have looked on your page. Which would you prefer me to read? It depends how many you wish me to do also. If no preference, how about beginning with, 'Salt,' 'Mandrakes Plot' and 'Peace and Disquiet.' I will publish here, Amazon, Goodreads & Facebook. (and anywhere else by request)
    I have a current list so it will be around a month before I can begin reviewing for you. You can simply e-mail me the access code for Kindle format on Amazon UK. Alternatively you can e-mail me the E-book format, whichever you prefer. Please send to:
    Look forward to hearing from you.