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The Actual Point 1 August 2017

You’re busy, I’m busy.  So I aim to keep these blogs to five pithy paragraphs.  Thanks for taking an interest.

My friend Juliette with a little girl in Kabubbu

Abigale Spree, missing from Rainham since 22 July

A thought about focussing on the actual point of why you’re doing what you’re doing. 

Do you sometimes lose sight of what you’re trying to do in the first place?  I’ve done it twice this week.

The first time was this weekend, when my husband Henry and I opened our garden to raise funds for the Quicken Trust, a charity based in East Sussex that is doing mind-boggling things (building homes, schools, a health centre, providing water and the internet) in Kabubbu, a village in Uganda.  We’ve volunteered there ourselves, so know what is at stake.   Several thousand miles away, our garden is (though we say it ourselves) a startlingly large hidden Victorian gem on the Brighton seafront, and in previous years we’ve rustled up about £800 for Kabubbu village from generous tea and cake hungry visitors.

We opened at 11am, but it wasn’t until about 2pm I realised what I was allowing to happen.  All the chatter, curiosity and flattery was about our secret garden.  I’d done next to nothing to quietly hand out the leaflets, point out the Ugandan craft on sale, and talk about the bare vegetable gardens of Uganda.  At this point the rains came and the visitors didn’t, but I made sure I did things a little differently the next day.

The second time was yesterday, in the TV newsroom.  I was overseeing a rather alarming report about Abigale Spree, a 15 year old girl who’s been missing from Rainham for nine days.  Our report used, with the family’s blessing, some tearful interviews from her aunt and father, and shots of posters being put up in North Kent.  But when I checked through the report shortly before broadcast at 10.25pm, I realised something was wrong.  We hadn’t used as many close up pictures of Abigale herself as we could have, in a news report that had a duty to inform.  Thankfully, we had time make the change.

So next time I’m preparing a special event or compiling a report, I’ll try harder to remember why I’m actually doing it, and what I hope its outcome might actually be.

Kent Police are keen to hear from anyone who can help with their enquiries about Abigale — more details here.   The Quicken Trust is based in Hailsham, East Sussex, providing support for the village of Kabubbu, north of Kampala.

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