Friday, July 11, 2008

Desmond Tutu and Gordon Banks

This evening I met both anglican archishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner and Gordon Banks, former Stoke City goalkeeper, World Cup Winner and local resident. I'd like to say that this was a private audience, but of course there were about 500 other people there, though I did get to speak to both
Gordon Banks and Desmond Tutu personally.

It was an inspiring evening, a civic reception here in Stoke on Trent before a charity match tomorrow and unveiling of a statue of Gordon Banks at the Brittania Stadium. The archbishop and the goalkeeper will be joined tomorrow also by Pele, the greatest footballer the world has ever seen.

So many superlatives. And all deserved.

The event has come together thanks to the work of Don Mullan. Don was also present this evening. He was born Derry and became a peace campaigner after Bloody Sunday. Through his work he met Desmond Tutu, and he later wrote a book about Gordon Banks - 'Gordon Banks - the man who could fly' - describing how Gordon Banks inspired him as a child to make something of his own life.

And this was the theme of the evening and especially of Tutu's inspirational words. In a way he didn't say much - but he said it so well. Small things and ordinary people can achieve so much. Everyone, in their own way, can change the world.

I live in a city in which people generally lack aspirations. So many young people do not think that there is anything very much for them to achieve in life, little to aim for. So the message of this evening was a particularly appropriate one.

At the end of the speeches, one of our parishioners, Jaye Cohen, a ten year old who made her first communion just a few weeks ago, presented a peace plate which she had designed which won a city wide competition. Until I got there I had no idea that she won this honour: this was a wonderful surprise.

Of all our aspirations, the greatest of all must be for peace.

Gordon Banks - Best Save Ever


Shirley said...

Yes Peter, it was a wonderful evening and I feel very blessed to have met Archbishop Tutu and shake his hand. your blog write up is very impressive, with one slight inaccuracy, if you don't mind me telling the world! Jaye Cohen the little girl who gave the plate to Archbishop TUTU that she designed, was not confirmed at our Church actually.....It was me who prepared her for her First Holy Communion, and she made her First Holy Communion in our Church on Ascension Day, her Confirmation is still to come! Hope you have a good day at Maryvale, and see you at home tonight, Love you xx

Mark C said...

Hi Peter
Im Jaye Cohens dad, Mark Cohen. Id just like to say how much my daughter enjoyed the evening and how happy she was to meet Desmond Tutu in person. This is not the first time shes won a prize for her art, i expect she has a grate future in the art work.
Mark Cohen

Fr Peter said...

Thanks for your comments. Mark. I think you are very blessed to have such a charming and talented daughter! Dr Peter.