Who are your heroes?
My mum and dad are two of mine. Dad fought in WW2 but that’s too obvious a reason. My parents brought me up in the best way they knew. My dad left the RAF to ensure I had a stable period of schooling for my ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels. My mum stopped working to bring me up. Both my parents died of cancer but the way they faced it was something that made me proud and challenged me to live up to their example.
In the looser sense of the word, I would count several people that influenced me at various times during my life. I met a guy while I was a student in London who was training to be a missionary. He was the happiest person I had ever met and while I didn’t necessarily agree with all his beliefs, he was clearly content in his life and it made me look again at mine. My first girlfriend (for limited physical reasons). A mate who had burst out of his conservative outlook to embrace anarchism. We had a great debate, after a night in the pub, about how Britain as an anarchist state would work. I’m sure it was great… it was loud.
Various musicians and bands have influenced me. Mike Oldfield, Jon Anderson, Yes, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind. Some music inspires me. But these people and things are not true heroes.
In the past few years I’ve done some charity fundraising and inevitably I’ve come across some real heroes; people who have made sacrifices and struggled to achieve challenging goals. I met some fantastic people on my last trek who spent a large part of their lives fundraising for charities close to their hearts. There are work colleagues who have been through difficult time and have emerged unbeaten and gone on to champion their cause. One colleague has just started to celebrate his tenth year of fund raising by embarking on a series of activities to raise £10,000 for charity. His website is here
Perhaps the most worthy heroes are the ones that we don’t hear about. They do their thing without any expectation of recognition and arguably that means they do it with the purest intention. (I don’t necessarily believe that is true or valid as the very nature of fund raising means the need to publicise the activity or event). But these people – carers and Joe Public – are true heroes too.