I am writing this from somewhere in Germany where it is very cold. We have trucked our way through France, Belgium and now Germany. We have lost one another a few times, radios have failed us a few more times than that. Only one minor incident with one truck reversing into the prized massive truck of a big Polish bloke who turned out to be extraordinarily good natured. Ten very different personalities trucking their way along but with one common cause between us.
I had a very proud mummy moment yesterday. I have many proud mummy moments because I’ve been blessed with a real dude of a boy who gives a shit about the world. Chris, my boy, has set up a charity (see picture above) to deal with festival waste. He gathers tents, sleeping bags, clothes and all manner of other things and instead of it all going to landfill, which is what usually happens to it, he gets it to people who need it. It’s hard work. It’s massively unglamorous work and he needs a lot of help to do it.
I am travelling in a convoy of 5 trucks with various aid on board to go to the camps in Greece where desperation abounds.Amongst that aid is also some 200 plus sleeping bags that just happen to be the very same ones that my son gathered at the V Festival in Chelmsford last year. He gathered them and, by a combination of fate and strange circumstances, I’m delivering the very same sleeping bags to where they need to go. A proper personal delivery service. How cool is that?!
Which brings me to the parachute packer story. Apparently, so my co-driver Suleman tells me, there was a WWII parachutist who was being awarded a medal for his acts of bravery. When receiving the medal, he reeled off a long list of names of people to thank. The following day, he was contacted by th parachute packer to say that he had not been thanked. A parachutist is seriously stuffed without the dedicated, precise work of a parachute packer.
Which also brings me to here and now. Yes I’ve just spent the night (and about to spend another night) freezing my nads off ‘sleeping’ in the back of a truck. Yes, I’m driving a few thousand miles to deliver aid to where it needs to go, but I’m not the hero here. The hero is my son who traipsed round a post apocalyptic festival field gathering sleeping bags and is also looking after my dear Tom dog. The heroes are the people who drive up and down the country sorting and delivering aid. The heroes are the people who, in all good faith, donate money to make this kind of stuff happen. There are people making phone calls, answering emails and I could go on and on.
I’m just driving a truck. There are so many people who give a shit in order to make this happen. There are people who quietly get on with stuff and don’t get any recognition for what they do. I could name names but I’m not sure how much those people appreciate being applauded in public. So to all you people out there, all you parachute packers, a deep heartfelt thanks. All of you are what is stopping us from going under at a time when a tsunami of ill feeling seems to be washing over the world. If you want to be not just a parachute packer but a van packer then do get in touch with Chris. If you have a van to lend Chris for the summer to actually pack things into then that would be even more heroic. You can have fun packing away tents, sleeping bags etc after festivals and it is way more fun than it sounds. You get to meet lots of give a shit people who are the best kind of people.
There are so many parachute packers and, like the parachutist, we’d be royally stuffed without you.