Friday 11 July 2003

Enough is enough

Just think about it, if everyone in the world did what this millionaire couple have done then we would have no war, famine, disease or violence. We could solve all our problems overnight and we'd be living in Utopia. But, there are greedy people in the world for whom enough is never enough. Here's a thought for today, if you can afford to, give someone an unexpected gift of time or money. Something you know they have been wanting to buy or do for ages but couldn't afford or find the time. Instead of using those resources yourself, go and use them on that person, don't expect to get anything in return and write the money off. Why don't we start off a "Give Something to a Stranger Day", one day a month where we all do something kind for someone we don't know. There's a thought....

...SORRY, wrong meeting!

I'm sick of all the bad news, here's something to make you feel better!

A lottery-winning couple who gave millions to charity could give world leaders a lesson in wealth distribution

by Polly Toynbee

Click the image to enlarge it Here is a good story. Barbara and Ray Wragg recently won £7.6m on the lottery, and naturally it changed their lives. Ray was a roofing supervisor, often leaving home at 4am to get to distant building sites. Barbara had worked for years as a nursing assistant at the Royal Hallamshire hospital in Sheffield, on 11-hour night shifts in the urology department, taking home under £150 a week.

Their lives were hard but they were an exceptionally contented couple, with married, grown-up children and a council house they managed to buy for £10,000 in the 1980s. "We felt we were kings of our castle," Barbara says. "We never dreamed of anything more." But if you think this is going to be another of those schadenfreude tales of money bringing misery, think again.

Once they recovered from the shock of the man from Coutts bank arriving on the first day bearing £5,000 in cash for their immediate needs, the Wraggs bought themselves a bigger house nearby and a Range Rover. They gave £1m to their children to pay off their mortgages and have plenty for the rest of their lives. They took several cruises and gave money and presents to friends.

Then, once they felt they had everything they wanted, the Wraggs decided to give away the rest: they have donated £5.5m to charities so far. They have visited projects, supported ventures large and small and they even gave a sizeable sum back to the Hallamshire hospital where she worked so hard for so little all those years. "We have never had so much pleasure in our lives," Barbara says.

A Labour-voting trade union member, who is not religious, she says: "Labour shaped our life and our thinking." She might, I suggest, like a hand in shaping some of the thinking about wealth of the present Labour leadership, and she laughs.

The Wraggs and their children have a rare sense of balance and sufficiency. Knowing how much is enough is what is now being lost among the new greed-is-good generation of high earners, whose pay has shot out of control.

Full story...