If you do not ask

The @RedMagDaily photo of Martha is so her! -- NeverSeconds

The @RedMagDaily photo of Martha is so her! — NeverSeconds

If you do not ask, the answer will always be NO. — Paulo Coelho

A truism if ever there was one, I learnt from my Father.

In NeverSeconds, an almost impossible book to find (but a must read), David Payne tells of seeking help from his neighbours in running his smallholding.

He felt he was seeking help too often. On the contrary they told him, you do not seek our help often enough.

But I am giving little back in return.

It does not matter, they told him, we are more than willing to help you, and all we ask, is that you in return help someone else.

He did, he helped his daughter Martha set up a food blog called NeverSeconds, in which she wrote about her school meals.

Argyll and Bute Council were of a different view, some may say on a different planet. Rather than praising Martha for her excellent journalism, they decided to shut her down, before that, they tried to portray her as a liar, accused the family of bad parenting.

When Martha heard of the lies, she was upset. She then fought back, she wrote on her blog the truth. When her blog was forced to close by the Council acting like playground bullies, the Council was forced to back down.

Martha has served as an inspiration to others, who have set up blogs to fight injustices. Through her blog she has raised over £120,000 for a school kitchen in Malawi, which she was invited to inaugurate.

Last week Martha was the youngest ever recipient of Red Hot Woman of the Year. The week before, recipient of a Human Rights Award for standing up for free speech.

It is surprising what can happen when you ask, and when you are willing to help others.

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One Response to “If you do not ask”

  1. keithpp Says:

    Citation from Red’s magazine

    Martha Payne


    When Martha started her blog, NeverSeconds, in May 2012, rating the dinners at her primary school in Lochgilphead, Scotland, she never could have known the impact it would have. After Argyll and Bute council tried to ban her from taking photographs in the canteen, the blog quickly went viral.

    Since then, she’s put her fame to good use, raising over £120,000 for the Argyll-based charity Mary’s Meals. The charity provides school meals for children in poverty-stricken African communities. Last October, Martha travelled to Malawi to see their work in action.

    ‘The school dinners there are nice,’ she says. ‘The under-sixes have fish, and the primary children have a kind of porridge.’ Martha herself has several ambitions. ‘I’d like to be an author or a journalist,’ she says, ‘or maybe a freerunner.’

    What the judges said

    Kirsty Dale: ‘My daughter’s just turned 10 and learning about Martha’s blog made me think how inspirational she is to young girls, and how rarely we celebrate the talents of young writers.’

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