With so much bad news in the world, last weekend reassured me that the milk of human kindness has not totally evaporated.
Some readers may remember my 15 year-old niece in Liverpool, Jamie-Leigh Usher, who suffers from cystic fibrosis.
His meeting with Jamie-Leigh on Monday morning was one of joy and tears for everyone in the room.
Jamie-Leigh has spent her whole life in and out of hospital and must endure twice-daily physiotherapy sessions to help clear her lungs, not forgetting the constant medication, intravenous feeds, nebulisers and breathing equipment.
And if this wasn’t enough, she is also autistic. Through all of these challenges she has never moaned about her lot or allowed herself to be defined by her condition.
Sadly, Jamie-Leigh recently contracted a virus that seriously affected her breathing and so was admitted into intensive care.
Having spent much of her life convalescing, the television has been a great friend.
But out of every presenter she has ever watched, there is one particular TV personality she totally adores – presenter of children’s shows Playdays and Get Your Own Back, Dave Benson Philips.
Jamie-Leigh has many friends and all who know her also know about her love of ‘Dave’.
With her condition worsening, my wife and I decided to try to make contact with Dave Benson Philips.
Our friend Lyn Staunton, head of fundraising for Variety The Children’s Charity (North West), sent an e-mail to Dave’s agent telling him about Jamie-Leigh and, much to our surprise, back came a reply saying Dave would be willing to help.
So last Sunday evening I picked him up from his home in Worthing and we drove the four hours to Merseyside.
His meeting with Jamie-Leigh on Monday morning was one of joy and tears for everyone in the room. The look on her face will remain with me forever.
As I write, she is still very poorly, but has played back the video footage over and over again until she drifts off to sleep smiling.
On Monday afternoon, I drove Dave back to his home in Worthing.
At a moment’s notice, he had left his family to make a 24-hour, 600-mile round trip just to make a little girl’s dream come true. Thank you so much, Dave.
Antiques expert John appears on TV shows including Cash In The Attic and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and also runs Nesbits auction house in Southsea. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (023) 9229 5568.