Monday 31st October 2011, St. James's, London.
I met Iain at Le Caprice in Arlington Street. It was the first time I'd been back to that part of St. James's since I was sacked from my job as a NatWest bank teller for being constantly drunk or hungover. That and the small matter of my till never adding up to the correct amount. I was just a kid and had only worked there for a few weeks, but I could see that I was never going to get on with the admin stuff. The only good thing about that job was that Alec Guinness would come in every day to cash a cheque for 100 pounds.
I turned up one morning, a few minutes late as usual, and the old security guard (probably the only employee I'd really connected with) apologised and explained that he couldn’t let me in. When the manager eventually arrived and took me inside to deliver the news, none of the staff could make eye contact. It had been on the cards since day one, but despite not wanting the job, I played the game and put on a bit of a sulk. To be honest, once I was out the door, I skipped down the street feeling elated. The only downside was that I would never get the chance to develop my relationship with Obi-Wan Kenobi. A real shame, as the force had been strong.
I told Iain about Wearelucky – I was still very unsure about the whole project at that stage and, looking back, perhaps I was searching for advice or some kind of approval. Before I knew it, I'd asked him to take part. Iain told me about how he'd like to help his nephew and it sounded like a great way to use the money. I didn't have my camera on me so we made vague plans to meet up at a later date.
It was only very recently that I actually got round to taking some shots, though I still left it to the last minute. Iain was on holiday with his lovely family in Cape Town and there were loads of excellent opportunities, but for some reason I just didn't seize the moment. I eventually grabbed a few snaps as he was jumping in a cab on his way to the airport. I was annoyed I didn’t make better pictures, especially given all the cool places we'd hung out together.
One time, we went to see the Stormers play the Bulls in a top of the table clash. It was the biggest rugby union match in Cape Town for some time and had long sold out, but I was confident that we could pick up a pair of tickets from a tout without breaking the bank. We asked a few people on the way to the ground and eventually found a guy selling 2 spares. Face value was 50 rand each, but the guy wanted to sell at 120 rand each. I thought it sounded a bit lumpy, but Iain held up his palms and motioned that he'd handle it. He then proceeded to offer 250 rand for the pair. Quite understandably, the tout was eager to do the deal and quickly swapped his tickets for the wad of cash. Rather more curiously, Iain seemed pretty pleased with the outcome too. I mumbled something about taking care of future negotiations and sloped off to find our seats.
Questions & Answers
1. What were your first thoughts and feelings when propositioned with Wearelucky?
My initial thoughts prior to my involvement were that it is a very interesting way of demonstrating generosity and as a result of the individual donations, establishing a lasting legacy.
2. What have you decided to do with the money?
I have decided to pass the donation to my 9-year-old nephew, Charlie. He's a very talented go-kart driver and has been identified as having the potential to race professionally in later life. A lack of funding and sponsorship have restricted his progress so far, but he's very determined. He has dealt with ADD (attention deficit disorder) and improved his understanding of maths and English to the point where he can monitor lap times and write race strategy. His family can only afford so much and I hope that Charlie sees this donation as justification of his hard work and dedication.
3. What does good mean to you?
Good means a positive feeling or action, it puts a smile on your face. It is a sense of achievement, a happy moment shared with people close to you. It is enjoyable and memorable.
4. Has it changed the way you think about giving?
It certainly has. I think the evolution of Wearelucky, the activation of so many projects and ideas triggered by the benefactors and the legacy this creates will set it apart from other trusts and charities. I have raised significant sums of money for various charities in the past, but Wearelucky feels far more personal, selective, interactive and bespoke.
5. Did you think about spending the money on yourself and what difference the money might make to your life?
I initially thought about using the money in a different way or for some kind of animal conservation but never to spend it on myself. I am happy in my personal life and having been selected by Wearelucky, I knew that the most positive use for the money would be to give my nephew the chance he deserves. He won't take it for granted.
6. Is it important to get something back and why?
I think Wearelucky will get something back from everyone involved because the knock-on effect of this project can be huge. It can touch many lives in the years to come. Perhaps the majority of those will never be recorded and Wearelucky will never know the full impact of the initial donations.
7. Has Wearelucky inspired you?
It has certainly inspired me to allocate time, effort, support and additional resource to my nephew and the journey he is just about to embark on. I'm inspired by the various people from all walks of life who will share their experiences. It's a brand new community and platform for growth and expansion.