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You may recall that back in January we ran some news along with a fundraising campaign, when we discovered that ill-health was forcing an ex-contract cleaner to auction his George medal for bravery. In case you missed the coverage, Ronnie Russell - who'd thwarted an attempted armed kidnap on Anne, the Princess Royal, back in the '70s - was being forced to sell the very special medal he'd been awarded by Anne's mother, Her Majesty the Queen, for his bravery. The idea was that we'd raise whatever Ronnie had hoped the sale of his medal would bring, so he wouldn't have to part with it. After all - it is truly a 'one-off', isn't it?
Ronnie's ex-employer www.exclusivecontracts.co.uk read in Cleanzine of his plight and held a board meeting to see if the company could do anything to help. As a result, Exclusive took part in the auction and bid £32,000 with the intention of returning the medal to Ronnie.
The bid was eventually unsuccessful as the medal sold for £50,000, but Exclusive made Ronnie a supplementary payment anyway, and asked him to speak at the company's annual dinner, too. Having interviewed him in the '90s, I can vouch for the fact that it will be a lively and interesting after dinner speech so everyone there will be in with a treat. Exclusive also said that if Ronnie ever gets into difficulties of any sorts, to let them know. Isn't that wonderful and if only more ex-employers were so caring!
This week Ronnie emailed us to say: "I want to give you massive thanks for all your efforts toward raising the money and taking the time to ensure that I received it. Fate intervened as we now know, with the Auction House committed to achieving the best possible price on the day. The actual amount was more than my wildest dreams would allow me to imagine.
"It's with this in mind that I intend to donate the crowd funding monies (£2,500) to the NHS - namely Captain Tom for his magnificent efforts. I hope this meets with your approval and that you understand why I've reached this decision."
So, what could have been such a horrid tale with a Princess kidnapped and never seen again, has, through one man's bravery, turned out so well. As I write this, Captain Tom's fundraiser (www.justgiving.com ) has reached more than £28.35 Million, with donations coming in from all over the world. Smiling? So am I!
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23rd April 2020