Little at Large

Departing FD didn't have a clue about his cryptic gift

Mathew Little
Mathew Little

Here's a crossword clue for you: "Scottish deliverer of dirty fuel leaves pardoning to others after 13 years (6,7)."

I'll help you out: Melvin Coleman retired at the end of September as finance director of Amnesty International, which he had served since 1996. He's an avid solver of The Guardian's cryptic crosswords, but he didn't have a clue about the send-off colleagues were planning for him.

They arranged with Guardian crossword setter Araucaria for a series of clues all about him to appear in the crossword on 23 September.

As with most surprises, however, it didn't entirely go to plan. Unusually, he didn't complete the crossword on the bus to work, so they had to ask him to solve his six personal clues at a staff and volunteers meeting. Answers included amnesty, finance, retiree and so on. He was, colleagues say, "reeling from blow to head (7)".

- I don't know if anyone has sat down and listed all the public services charities now deliver. But if anyone has, they may need to add a new activity - deer control.

The Northern Ireland Assembly has been debating whether to open up land belonging to its Forest Service to people who want to stalk deer. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation has proposed that the Forest Service join voluntary organisations to form a new "deer forum" to deal with the issue.

In the debate, assembly member Jim Shannon of the Democratic Unionist Party supported a role for the sector in "deer management", which surely means shooting them. "He has never seen Bambi, then," retorted a Sinn Fein opponent.

- Lloyd-Law Associates, a company in Lancashire, is continuing to pester charities to send it examples of their promotional material. It says these will be used in a survey on charities' compliance with donor requests that will be published in the charity press, including Third Sector.

But the charity press has never heard of the survey, Lloyd-Law doesn't respond to inquiries and its address is apparently a tile shop in Lytham St Annes.

The Rays of Sunshine children's charity wrote back to Lloyd-Law Associates saying it didn't want anything to do with it. Fundraising manager Olivia Woolf was amazed to receive a reply accusing her of sending an "idiotic email" about "pathetic merchandise", saying her letter was "actionable" and signing off by calling the charity a "disgrace". It's a strange way to do business.

Mathew Little is a freelance writer, mathew.little@haymarket.com

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