My name is Bertie Herrtage, I’m a coach here at Crowdfunder UK and I’m on an adventure. Since August I have been travelling across the UK, from Cornwall to Scotland, meeting with and interviewing 10 of my favourite projects. These 10 wonderful stories will form the basis of a publication which I myself am putting together, with the aim of shining a light on all of the good things that are happening and the incredible people behind them.
Video by Frederick J P Shelbourne
Out of the 10 projects that I visited, this is one that resonated with me most. The Lost Words is a book written by author Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris. It won the Hay on Wye Book Festival Award in 2017 and for good reason.
In such a progressive society, sometimes the things that we start to lose are those which are closest to home. Macfarlane, wrote this book in protest of the Junior Oxford English Dictionary dropping words such as bramble, conker, dandelion, ash and adder from their latest edition.
Vineeta Gupta, the head of children’s dictionaries at Oxford University Press, responded to the controversy at the time by explaining how the Oxford Junior Dictionary had limited space, and therefore in order to add new words they had to remove some older words.
This approach filled me with a tremendous sadness, the words I dearly associated with my own childhood were now deemed to be irrelevant. What I love, is that there are incredibly determined people out there who don’t just absorb this anguish but use it to fuel positive action against it.
Such a person was Jane Beaton, a very community driven individual up in Strathyre who works in Cycling Tourism and drives a school bus in her spare time.
Jane decided that this was too important just to be swept underneath the carpet and declared that she was going to make it her mission to get a copy of ‘The Lost Words’ into every school across Scotland.
Jane approached the author on Twitter who delighted in her enthusiasm and got behind the campaign. Her crowdfunding journey began from there and over the next few weeks she was to hear from the publishers Penguin Books, who agreed to provide the book at a lower cost.
This is a wonderful story of what we can be capable of once we shift our focus from ‘somebody should do something about this’ to ‘I’m going to do something about this’. It is very easy to pass the buck to the government once we are faced with a challenge in society. What I find so very inspiring about Jane’s project, is that she recognised a failing and we the people got behind her because we believed it to be important that every child should have access to this book.
Since Jane embarked on this journey, people from every corner of the UK, inspired by her actions have set about crowdfunding the costs to get a copy of The Lost Words into every individual county in the United Kingdom.
Now Jane has the equally large task of distributing these books to every school across Scotland. Good luck Jane!
Feeling inspired? Start crowdfunding to make your idea a reality.