Now last Wednesday I was in the National Football Museum, in Manchester. As many people who know me will testify, it’s the last place people might find me. Football doesn’t do anything for me at all – I don’t understand why it is often described as the national sport or what the fuss is about - however, I was there to be part of the 23rd anniversary celebrations of the work of Youth Charter, a UK based charity, which aims to provide young people with opportunities to develop themselves through sport, arts and cultural activities.
Geoff Thompson, Chair and founder of Youth Charter led the evening’s celebrations and described the great work being undertaken. A former Olympic Gold medallist and internationally recognised for his contribution to Karate, Geoff has, over the past 15 years, been a leading light in developing innovative ideas and approaches aimed at addressing anti-social youth behaviour, child obesity, weapon and gang culture. He is a true giant of a man in all senses of the word.
I had never been inside the Football Museum before and there was lots to see. One of the take home images collected during the evening however, was that of the urinals in the Gents toilets. It was an image I found very amusing and I continued to be amused when I saw at the mixed reactions from others when I tweeted the picture later. Actually Twitter and tweeted images were much in evidence last week.
Just 7 minutes after the terrorist attack at Brussels Airport, I was picking up tweets of the news and the first pictures of the wispy trails of black smoke coming out of the terminal. These were images that completely belied the tragic events happening inside the building. Again, innocent people lost their lives and many other injured as a consequence of the actions of a few perverse individuals labouring under the distorted interpretation of the sacred religious beliefs and profound cultural values of the majority. The following day, my taxi driver engaged me in conversation about the EU referendum and where I stood. He told me he was for exiting. His reasoning was not evidence based, but was passionately held. Migration - he felt we needed to regain control of our borders and reduce the risk of terrorists entering the county undetected. The attacks in Brussels had provided the justification for his position.
After a long week, it was off the train at Manchester, and into my car for the drive up to the House in Scotland. Surprisingly, there was very little traffic and the journey took no longer than usual. Good Friday was a glorious day, full of blue skies and sunshine. Easter is an important and significant point in the year for many religions. For me, whilst remembering the tragic events in Brussels earlier in the week, and the devastating impact that will have meant for so many, it was good to see families enjoying themselves on the beach in safe and peaceful surroundings.