My brother, Malcolm, wrote this in 2002, just before his 50th birthday on 17th February.
Today would have been his 61st birthday. I’d like to think his idea of Birthday Aid could continue, even after ten years and further still.
Here is Malcolm’s letter:
To all family and friends: Hi everyone.
As you know, I will shortly be reaching an important milestone in life, my 50th birthday. I expect many of you have been wondering what on earth to do, what to buy me, what I could want, what you could afford, etc. etc. Well, worry no more. I know the feeling. The fact is, I really don’t need anything else but there’s one thing you could do for me that would be much better than any gift, and make the world a little bit better in the process.
All I ask is that you do something for someone who needs a little help, something to cheer someone up a bit, something, large or small, to make the world just a little bit brighter on my special day. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Just invite the old lady next door round for a cup of tea, drop a few coins in a collecting tin or send back that Oxfam envelope with the free pen.
If you’re only little then try to be as good as you can all day. Help Mum. Tidy your room. All I ask is that you think of something to make life easier for someone, to bring a little bit of happiness into their life, then go do it, whatever it is, large or small. Use your imagination.
The most important thing is, whatever you do, don’t tell anyone, most of all me. I don’t want to know. I have all the happiness I could ever fit into life. Let’s share it.
There’s one more thing, though. If you decide to do something for someone on my special day, and at Christmas, please send me a card. Write whatever you want, but so that I know you did something for someone somewhere, just put two little words at the end. Just write ‘I remembered’. That’s all.
If every birthday and every Christmas I get a card like that from each of you and nothing else, and I stress I want nothing else, then that is the best present I could ever get, to think that on my special day this little idea of mine is making the world just a little bit better for those less fortunate than myself, simply because you are celebrating me. I don’t have to do anything. All I need to do is sit and watch those cards come in, knowing that each one, because of me, is making the world that little bit brighter. What better present could I want? There isn’t one. Who knows, it might catch on. We need a name for it. How about ‘Birthday Aid’?
Malcolm passed away on 02/10/2006, aged 54 years. I would love you to spread his message as far and wide as possible.