In early 1971, the telephone rang at our house at what my parents, who kept early hours, considered the ungodly hour of ten o'clock. My mother picked up the receiver, and a male voice said: 'Mrs Baker?'
'Yes?' she answered, wondering who it was.
'Would you like to live in London?'
It was before the era of cold calling, and she almost put the phone down, thinking she was talking to a lunatic, but instead, she said: 'I don't want to go and live in London, thank you.'
The unknown caller then asked if he could speak to her husband, so she went - with great misgivings - to get my father.
|Photo courtesy of Andrews|
The caller introduced himself to Dad, saying that he was Cecil Jackson-Cole, that he'd been hearing about my father on and off for the past ten years, and that he wanted to employ him. He suggested my father might like to take a senior post at Help the Aged. My father agreed to go and talk to Mr Jackson-Cole in London, and though he didn't want the post at Help the Aged, they put together a role for him, working half of his time as personnel manager at Andrews and Partners, the estate agents, and the other half dealing with personnel for Help the Aged and the umbrella charity, Voluntary and Christian Service, which existed to set up charities. And so my family came into the orbit of a great man - though not in physical stature; he was short and rather plump - and a great eccentric.
Oxfam has gone on, and it will be 70 years old this year.
|CJC with his wife Theo at my wedding|
Photo by Michael Wheeler