Thursday, 15 September 2011

King Bong

The kind and remarkably generous gentleman you can see pictured above is an old mate of Wee John's and mine.  And his name is Bong Liao. 

We all went to school together and Coleraine Inst Old Boys will better remember him as Malcolm Yeow.

Him being a "Y" and me being a "W" (stop it!) we sat together in class for a number of years, right at the back.  (Wee John tended to be standing either in the corridor, or outside the headmaster's study).

Some months ago and thanks to Facebook, Bong  - now living back in his native Malaysia - got back in touch for the first time in more than 20 years.  He subsequently became an avid follower of this rubbish blog and, after I kept going on about it here (you may have noticed), he messaged me to offer a contribution towards our Great North Run fundraising effort.  However, for technical reasons, he asked if he could get the money to me by post.

A combination of my ineptitude and his persistence meant that the arrangement was only sorted out this afternoon.  But, my goodness, it was worth waiting for.

A few minutes before he got in touch, our running total stood at £980 and I put an appeal on Facebook asking for someone to stump up £20 to get us into four figures.  

"How does 500 quid sound to you?" said Bong in a message which suddenly flashed up on my screen.

When I eventually recovered my composure, I explained that it sounded wonderful, and it is now on its way. 

But it was a moment and a gesture I will never forget.

I left voicemails for Mags and Wee John straight away and all three of us remain stunned, and oh so grateful. 

What a top man.

As a result of the incredible selflessness of Bong and many, many others, our grand total now stands at £1,510 and we know there is still a fair bit of money to come in.  For example, a church in Keighley is doing a collection for us this Sunday.  And, seven days later, there will be another whip round at a very special event in Coleraine I will tell you about next week.

Can we make it to our original target of £2,000 after all?

Maybe, maybe not. But nothing would surprise me any more.

If you haven't yet donated and would like to do so, this link will guide you on your way.

I know I'm biased, but I think you should.