Life can be strange sometimes. Actually a lot of what goes on in my life is strange, but that’s a different story. This story though concerns David Walliams. Four years ago I wrote this blog post after David swam the Thames for Sport Relief: David Walliams — My Hero. I thought David should be Knighted.
I had forgotten that I had written the post to be honest, until Annie, Penny and I got a chance to talk to David in our hotel on Saturday afternoon. We were all shattered after our day at various projects so we were thrilled when David asked if we fancied a quick chat. When I asked David about how he got involved in Comic Relief and how he mentally prepared for the Thames swim he had said that isnt something you can mentally prepare for. Physically yes, but not so much mentally. David also mentioned how the Thames swim had been lovely as people got to come and watch, and when I mentioned one of those people had been Jonnie on his birthday when the school all got to go down to the river bank, I remembered the post.
Reading it now makes me cringe to be honest but hey, if blogging has taught me one thing, it’s that you have to take the piss out of yourself every now and again.
Once I had remembered that post, spending an afternoon watching David doing pieces to camera and radio back in the UK became a bit surreal to be honest. And it was a great thing to be able to witness as we stood in the grounds of HOVIC, a project in Kisumu that receives support from Comic Relief. David had first become aware of HOVIC when he made this film for Comic Relief back in 2012
HOVIC is a great project. They provide boys living on the streets with a bed for the night, food and importantly education. They also get access to social workers and counsellors. Whilst there we got to see lessons taking place, a room where girls can come and learn to be tailors, the boys making beaded bracelets, and a group having lunch.
And boys just being boys climbing trees, whilst others cranked up the stereo and had a party (that we just had to join in with).
It’s hard to believe that many of these boys are orphans, have lived on the street from the age of ten, sniffed glue, been beaten up by other boys and now come out the other side of all that as young men with the skills to do something with their lives. We chatted to two young men, Daniel and Joseph who are running their own businesses thanks to the help they got from this project.
There are so blog posts I could write and so many stories to tell and photos to share that right now I don’t really know where to begin but I did want to give you a taste of what is it like to see behind the scenes of any of the footage you may have seen on TV on Monday this week when Red Nose Day 2015 launched. This is the scene in the Gallery as David went live onto This Morning with Philip and Christine (and primed the boys to say their favourite presenters were Eamonn and Ruth which was just too funny):
And this is David as he did his piece for NewsBeat on Radio 1
This project had a huge impact on me, knowing that David had met Philip here and how his life has changed dramatically from the small boy with no shoes living on the central reservation to the boy now in full time school with the dream of being a pilot thanks to it was really emotional. We have used the #LastingChange message alot this weekend and it so evident here that it really is happening.
And on a personal level it affirmed once again that life is indeed very strange sometimes, and that life is what you make it. Joshua for instance had walked 500km to get to HOVIC because he wanted to make something of his life. He wanted the help to get off the street so made it happen.
I had no involvement with Comic Relief when I wrote that post in 2011. The idea of Team Honk was still a year away but it was when the seed was planted in my mind that I wanted to get more involved with them.
Who knew it would lead to this in four years. Probably a bit how Philip feels too I should think.