Dear Raighean Barnes, ndcs Street Donations Man of Plymouth

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Dear Mr Barnes,

Today on the 22/02/1011 you caught me on the street to speak to me about the deaf children’s charity ndcs, and usually I don’t like to talk to street collectors, because I hate the idea of being guilted into giving, but at the same time, I have a certain amount of respect for people willing to give up their time to support a charity, and so I happily spoke to you. I’ve got to say Mr Barnes, you are dissimilar to any street collector I have ever spoken to. The compliments on my skin, and other facets of my beauty, I think are a tactic to charm whomever you are speaking to, and warm them to your words, so I don’t actually believe you meant them, and they are not the reason I listened to you; I believed you had a great passion for the charity you represented, and I don’t get that very often when I’m asked to stop in the street on behalf of some charities. I’ve heard that some are even solicited to campaign, and are paid to do so, but I really don’t believe you are, because you gave me your work-number as a means of giving a donation. Rare.

What’s more baffling is your general interest in what I do. I am a novelist. Granted unpublished, but I wasn’t lying to you. For several minutes you spoke of video-games. Were you trying to capture my humanity by presenting yourself as someone I could trust and relate to? I appreciate that if you were.

I made you write your name in my notebook, so I wouldn't forget.

Did you believe me when I told you I was a struggling writer, with a tiny income? No, I imagine you did not, but I am. On the very slight chance you are reading this at all, before I make any real progress with my novel, I want to assure you that I barely make enough to pay rent each week, and occasionally, very, very occasionally, I do without a meal. As much as I wish I could give .23p a day – seems so small even writing it here – for me, that’s £1.61 a week, and I’m nearly £800 into an overdraft, so that amount wouldn’t even be mine. I’d like to give frequently to a charity I believe in, having said that, it probably wouldn’t be yours, but I’m glad I am now aware of the suffering and injustice to deaf children, and I do wish to help. I also promised I would support by giving a small one-off donation. I can imagine you hear this all the time, from people who want to be seen as charitable, but then, as you stated do not give as they promised. I however always try to mean what I say.

So, this evening, as soon as I got home, I did indeed, hurry to the ndcs website and happily gave £2.00 of my income to help you aid deaf-children. And if you need proof, here it is. Yes, you see.

I blacked out the individual number, because I wasn’t sure if that meant people could get hold of my private information, but should you ever stumble upon this site, I hope this is enough to convince you. While I’m not sure what good it will do, I only have a small gathering of dedicated hypothetical readers, but I will also pass your website onto them http://www.ndcs.org.uk/. You spoke of things I was unaware of. Deaf children feeling in isolation because of their inability to communicate with others, their high rates of anti-social disabilities and even suicide because of bullying and loneliness, and of the inordinate costs of cochlear implants, which are not available on the NHS were all startling discoveries for me, as I imagine they would be for many. You likened it to being in an isolation tank, unable to escape, unable to communicate fear with the outside world. Frustration and loneliness are the words which come to mind, because deaf children are not stupid, and they do not think differently, but their education and understanding of the world needs to be tackled in a different way. I want to see this change, and you are the reason I do.

Why have I posted this letter to you, well, because I believe you are a good person, fighting for an overlooked cause, and I think it’s important that you know you made a difference today to someone who never knew of the ndcs before she met you, by chance near the sundial in Plymouth’s CBD. I also want to reassure you that not everyone you stop is simply trying to brush you off, there are people who want to help, but are unable in the frequent means you are asking for, who will do what they can, when they can to support the community to represent.

So, keep doing what you are doing Mr Barns; perhaps if I ever see publication you will read this, if you remember my name that is.

With best regards,

Alice Radwell.

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