|Katy with some of the books we are donating to schools featuring the character she portrayed|
Friday, 22 November 2013
What’s in it for Me?
We are Target Who and we have been patiently keeping secrets waiting for the Anniversary weekend to arrive. The wonderful events of 1st June 2013 will remain in my memory forever. For most of you it’s the date the news broke that Matt Smith was hanging up his bowtie and the search had started for an actor to replace him. For me something more memorable happened, it was the day I met Katy Manning and told her all about Target Who.
Katy had been touring the UK performing in ‘A Murder is Announced’ and I contacted her while she was appearing at Malvern Theatre. She kindly agreed to meet me after the matinee performance on her final day, but warned she wouldn’t have long. “I have to rush off and collect my suitcase as I’m leaving tonight straight after the evening show.”
I met Katy at the stage door. “Can we walk and talk?” she asked; of course and we set off through the town. I told her about the books; where they had been, what had happened to them and how thirty of us had come together to secure their purchase. Then I told her how we were giving them away free to school libraries wherever we can reach. This stopped her in her tracks and she started looking around. “Can we go for a cup of tea? Do you have time?”
And so, I found myself sat in a café in Malvern town centre drinking tea with Katy Manning. I read her the blog entry I’d posted that morning, We Aspire to Inspire, where I’d called on other fans to support what we are doing by donating a single book to their local school. Then Katy said the words I’ll remember forever:
“You’re not like other fans. For them the 50th is about ‘What’s in it for me? - Is my Doctor returning?’ You’re turning it on its head and saying what can we do for someone else? How wonderful.”
I hadn’t thought about it like that, but she was right. Doctor Who is the most magical series; it reaches out to children and inspires them in so many ways. I had sat as a dyslexic child at the bottom of the class in Literacy and Target Doctor Who books changed my life. They hooked me on reading and my work flourished, eventually leading to a degree. I’ve heard similar stories from many other fans since starting this project. Our project is about using this wonderful series to inspire a generation of children to fall in love with reading, which will improve their lives in so many ways.
We were interrupted by a small shy girl staring at Katy from next to our table. Katy transferred her attention briefly and I was privileged to witness just how wonderful Katy is too. The delighted child left and Katy had an idea
“Can I send you a book? It won’t be a Doctor Who book, but one I know a child will love reading? Can I do that? Would that be alright?”
So that’s how Katy Manning became a part of Target Who, doing the very thing we are asking of other fans. There was just time for a few photographs then as she turned to leave I told her that we had already received some inspired donations from her adopted part of the world. I told her of Donald Bain in Tasmania and Joanne in Sydney, and off she went with the broadest of smiles.
She sent me two books - An illustrated copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and a copy of War Horse along with the following note:
Imagination, one of the greatest and most creative parts of our complex brain, it is limitless. Perhaps the best way to exercise and encourage this fathomless gift is by reading. Books can fill us with knowledge, facts and the beauty of words by constantly adding to our vocabulary allowing us to create unique pictures in our minds.
Children want to read, but alas, are not always supported in their natural desire.
We’ve found good homes for both of Katy’s donations and our inspired counter has increased to 321. Will it get higher? I honestly don’t know. There are thousands of Doctor Who fans out there, but I’m not sure how many of us are “not like other fans.” Most, it seems, are only interested in Doctor Who where there is “something in it for me.” However there are a few of you; the inspired counter shows that. You are the cream of fandom whose love of the series transcends personal gain.
We are Target Who. We are few. There is NOTHING in it for us. Show how wonderful YOU are by donating a single book to your nearest school and tell us where. We hope to hear from you.