Maggie Shaw here, proud owner of Eregendal and author.
As a lifelong lover of reading, each month I choose one of my favourite books – and tell you all about it.
For January’s Book of the Month I have chosen The Other Railway Children by David Maidment. David was a senior manager with British Rail, who became Chair of Amnesty International UK’s Children’s Human Rights Network, Chair of the Consortium for Street Children, a Trustee of the Methodist Relief and Development Fund and Founder of the Railway Children charity.
The Other Railway Children is David Maidment’s personal account of how he started and ran the Railway Children charity, from a chance encounter with a young girl begging on Churchgate station, Bombay, through to his retirement from heading the charity in 2010.
The book describes all the stages the charity went through, starting with the thread of an idea which David floated with his British Rail colleagues, his failure to find charities specifically helping runaway children and street children who turned up at major stations, his decision to found his own charity, the grants and support he won for the charity and the international growth he developed.
In part chronological, in part sectional, the book describes in detail all that is involved in creating and running an international charity which achieved a £3 million a year turn-over in 2010.
I bought a copy of this book at a Quaker meeting, to support the charity and its founder, who lives and worships near me in south Cheshire, as all royalties from the book are donated to the Railway Children charity.
The subject matter was of particular interest to me as I had been one of those countless railway children, arriving as a runaway on Victoria Station, London in 1970. Had this charity been running then, my life would probably have turned out quite differently.
I came away from this book amazed at God’s hand in the creation of this secular charity to help some of the most exploited and vulnerable people in our society and beyond. As a practising Christian, David’s conscience was disturbed to see a small girl flogging herself on the station platform to persuade people to give her money. He was well placed in British Rail to find the practical and financial support to get his new charity off the ground, and also had important professional skills in project development and risk management to guide its growth from the early stages into a successful organisation. The book also explained clearly all the steps necessary to develop and maintain a registered charity, leaving me with great respect for those who choose to devote their lives to a charitable cause in such a way.
So there we have it, January’s Book of the Month! Be sure to check back in February as I’ll be revealing another must read…