Marks and Spencer are running a campaign to encourage people to spend just a little bit of their own money to spread Christmas cheer by giving back something to make someone else’s life better. With a particular family in mind I jumped at the chance of taking part.
I am sure you are all aware of what happened in Boston, Lincolnshire earlier in December. A massive sea storm hit east coast of England, flooding towns and villages along the coast, and because of the way the coastline is at The Wash, the water was funnelled into the river Haven, flooding a significant part of Boston. I lived, studied and worked in Boston for several years before I got married and am still very much associated with the town, with family and friends living there.
On the day of the floods pretty much the whole of Boston town was given a “severe flood warning”, highest level of warning and an exclamation of immediate danger to life and property. My family and friends prepared themselves the best they could. But for some it wasn’t enough.
That evening some very good friends of mine felt the force of the water from the Haven as it overtopped the bank like a waterfall, rushed down the road and broke their kitchen window before making its way through their ground floor. It moved the dining table, emptied cupboards, filled white goods, and soaked everything. As the water receded it left behind the river bed, coating everything it touched in smelly silt. As it flowed down the road it moved the car and got into the engine. I have often said that I like the sea because it has awesome power; this is not the kind of power I like about it!
Other people in Boston had similar experiences. Over 450 homes and businesses were flooded, some people lost everything they had and their livelihood too. What an awful night.
I absolutely know that Boston fared much better than the Philippines did recently, and other places too, and we are all very lucky to have the means (and insurance) to rebuild and renovate. My friends and I have learned that flood water can be very destructive. And so close to Christmas.
I thought a lot about what to get with the £20 gift voucher M&S gave me as part of this campaign. In the end I decided the best thing would be to simply pass on the voucher itself to my friends so that, when they’ve finished clearing up and their ground floor is being put back together (which will be after Christmas), they can use it to get something they need. It might be food, cleaning products, some linen, some kitchen utensils, or maybe just a big box of chocolates to share while the workmen do their thing. I don’t mind, I don’t think it matters, I just hope this little token helps a tiny bit. They haven’t got it yet… it is currently sat under the Christmas tree where they will be spending Christmas (I wonder if they my blog).
I hope you are able to spread a little Christmas cheer this week. There are so many ways to do it – and it’s not too late even though Christmas is almost upon us. Give some money or toys to charity, visit someone who might not have any family to spend Christmas Day with, buy a coffee for someone who is homeless, pack up a parcel and send it to someone who is a long way from home, offer your time as a volunteer for a few hours. I hope you will do at least something.
Visit the M&S countdown to Christmas page for last minute gift ideas and to buy giftcards.