The Mad Hatter’s Tale

Tales from End to End
The Mad Hatter’s Tale

by John Hindson

Christians sometimes have to ‘be a fool for Christ’s sake’. Christ, when He was on earth, frequently did the unconventional – He healed on the Sabbath because the sick person’s need was greater than the obeying of the Law so loved by the Pharisees.

Amongst numerous unconventional things I’ve done for Christian Aid was to sit in an 1600mm diameter iron pipe supported horizontally 4 metres in the air for 12 hours – this was highlighted on the Terry Wogan Show in 1977. I did this – Stanton and Staveley- how could I not ask for permission to do this?

Another example springs to mind. I once sang my World Development report at the Methodist Synod (280 delegates) to a well-known tune and was told by one delegate that ‘You could have been thrown out for that!’ I told him that if it helped to get the message across by being thrown out that would have been worth it.

The Mad Hatter
The Mad Hatter

Why Mad Hatter? Well, one of the things I’VE HAD TO DO was to identify with women in the developing countries by walking to the Methodist Synod with a bucket of water on my head. They don’t walk 4 miles to a church business meeting with buckets of water on their heads; they walk further than that EVERY DAY because ‘water is not on tap’ in their homes; it is far away in a well or a stream or a dirty pond. I was thought to be MAD whereas they would be thought uncaring if they didn’t do this as without this water they would not be able to have some semblance of a normal lifestyle. They would be thought of as unfit mothers whereas I was thought of as ‘BEYOND THE PAIL’. *

As local Christian Aid Secretary for 35 years and a Trustee of The Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) I believe both ‘In Life Before Death’ and in ‘Small Miracles’. Christians are called to work for justice for those ‘born on the wrong side of the track’. I will be meeting John and Nancy in Grantham as they journey from Land’s End to John o’Groats – a journey I cycled many years ago with my daughter Stephanie. She now works from the Leeds Office of Christian Aid. We didn’t have any U-turns (an idea put forward by a certain lady who grew up in Grantham in the house a couple of doors away from where John and Nancy will be lodging) so let us not accept any U-turns as we push ever forward to help get rid of the dreadful scourge of poverty.

John and Lorraine Hindson

Over a period of 17 years we, as a family, have fostered 59 children here in Stapleford in out Wimpey chalet. We enjoyed and endured all sorts of emotions in that time but the lasting message that came across was that the children were mainly the victims of circumstance, as are many in the developing countries, and we felt that ‘there but for the Grace of God’ go I. Completely ‘out of the blue’ we have been invited to a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace this July.

* Editor: The scandal of inadequate water and sanitation services in many parts of the world is indefensible. The water.org website lists the following facts which are worth putting to memory:

  1. The ancient Romans had better water quality than half of today’s world population
  2. Water-borne diseases cause 1.4 million children’s deaths every year
  3. Half of the world’s hospitalisation cases are caused by water-related diseases
  4. Some 70% of the world’s fresh water supply is used for irrigation and agriculture
  5. Only 63% of the world’s population have access to improved sanitation

Putting the statistics in another way, we can say that nearly one billion people lack access to safe water and 2.5 billion do not have improved sanitation. The health, and therefore the economic, impacts of these inadequacies are monumental.

Today’s water crisis is not a matter of scarcity but of access.