The usually professionally attired Mrs Jones did something wonderful yesterday. It was dress-down day at work for Sport Relief and the theme was sports tops.
Having no particular sports allegiance and with my encouragement she chose to wear one of my old Coventry City tops. It wasn’t just any old top either, it was the iconic Sky Blues strip worn on the greatest ever day when we won the FA Cup in 1987. It is signed on the back by my hero and cup final goalscorer Dave Bennett.
Is there anything more beautiful than your girlfriend or wife – both even! – wearing the top of the team you support. It suggests a certain loyalty, support of what you support, a kind of unconditional love. Even though she has little interest in the shirt’s subject-matter, she wore it just for me. It briefly brought to mind the famous case in the nineties of David Mellor, his mistress Antonia De Sanchez and the Chelsea shirt.
Never has Mrs Jones looked more radiant going to work than yesterday morning.
Then, in the evening, continuing with the Sport Relief theme we settled down to watch the fund-raising programme It got off to a great start featuring an intergenerational project where schoolkids – in this case from Wales – regularly visit older people in a care home. Its initial focus was on an older man who used to be active until his wife died but has since fallen ill.
The scenes of the generations interacting – reading, knitting, chatting, hugging – were very moving and you could see how it brought the best out of both ages. It sounded like the visit was the highlight of the week for both groups and it was genuinely moving.
I know a little about care homes through friends and my work and despite the best efforts of those that work in them they often seem such sad, desperate places but this showed a very different side.
The clip about the project finished with the kids who formed part of the intergenerational choir singing ‘You’ve Got a Friend In me’.
Brought a tear to my eye, it did, and it wasn’t long before my donation followed. Thanks to Sport Relief – which raised more than £40 million last night – for lifting the gloom for me and all those it helps.