|Guest of Honour, Sandy Gall CMG CBE with members of Leybourne and Mallings Branch Committee|
(Note JA is wired-in to Cornerstone Group, receiving his lines to take)
The invitation to Mr Gall came about purely by chance; I was delivering voter surveys in one of our rural villages, and noticed the name on one envelope was Alexander Gall. Curiosity got the better of me, and when I stopped at the local pub for coffee I enquired if the Alexander Gall was in fact the Sandy Gall of ITN fame, which the landlord confirmed.
The following day I wrote to him, asking if he would consider speaking at a fund raising dinner for the Association. Three weeks went by without reply, during which time I was increasing "ribbed" by Jon Botten for my optimism. "Still nothing from your friend, Mr Gall", or "he's clearly ignoring your advances, Andrew" then "He obviously thinks you are barking mad and wants nothing to do with you" and so on. Then one day, a lovely hand written reply, apologising for the delay in responding as he had been away in Afghanistan on behalf of his charity.
The lesson we should all learn; whether approaching world famous journalists to speak at fund raising events or enquiring if pledges will deliver 100 leaflets - if you don't ask you don't get!