Dr John Smith: Thank you for little acts of kindness

Our community is made up of people, like you, who do good things, says Dr John
Our community is made up of people, like you, who do good things, says Dr John

A friend has died. What is there to say about him?

I could tell of his time in the RAF, how he once acted with Dame Judi Dench, his work with the local theatrical and operatic societies, his years as a headteacher, his ability to talk without notes and make people laugh and think.

I could go on.

I will leave his obituary to someone else but I would like to talk about how we remember and celebrate the lives of people in our community.

Not necessarily prominent people, not necessarily clever people, but people.

I would not, of course, exclude the locally famous – that would not be right or fair.

I want us to celebrate the lives of our neighbours, our work colleagues, the people who walk by on the streets.

Let me tell you about the postman who, apart from delivering letters, collected prescriptions, did the shopping for elderly people and took their shoes to be mended.

And there is the elderly lady who waits in the cold for buses so she can visit even more elderly and lovely friends, the woman who qualified as a nurse in her 40s, the volunteer who sits quietly by the bedside of dying patients and who stands in the cold handing out leaflets at fundraising events on cold winter nights.

I have, for the most part, generalised but there are so many I could fill pages of this newspaper with them.

People who do what I call lots of little kind things that make all the difference.

Ordinary people who are extraordinary. No, hang on a minute because the word extraordinary makes it sound exceptional. It isn’t.

It is what you, the readers, do because our community is made up of people like you who do good things, little acts of kindness and not seeking any reward either.

So let us celebrate that and express our thanks.

And my friend? His name is Claude Oglethorpe and he did so many good things.

I loved him and thank God for his life.