PHILIP Clarke, who has poor eyesight, has issued a heartfelt thanks to big-hearted volunteers who help him live his life.
In a shining example of Britain’s Big Society 55-year-old Clarke, a proud man now forced to wear spectacles for failing eyesight, has come to rely on the kindness of strangers to maintain his daily routine of running a supermarket chain.
He said: “Without these people giving their time for free, it would be impossible for me to continue to live in my nice house, eat sweet luscious meats and float in the jacuzzi that is vital to my self-esteem.
“It’s quite something that in this day and age people are still willing to turn out and stack shelves in the night. I mean, it’s not like there’s really anything in it for them.”
Several hundred people come by lonely, ageing Philip’s cosy little supermarket each night, having a cup of tea with him and a chat about how things used to be made of Bakelite before helping to put his groceries away.
Clarke said: “It’s the company that means the most to me. To clarify I mean ‘company’ as in ‘sympathetic chat’ not ‘big thing with shareholders’.”
Volunteer Nikki Hollis said: “Helping Philip just gives me a good feeling. It’s just little things, like putting his several thousands cans of beans away, and making sure the labels are all facing in the same direction.
“He’s quite particular about that, bless him.”
A government spokesman said: “This demonstrates just how inspiring and humane volunteerism can be.
“That’s what the Big Society is about; getting involved, helping those who cannot help themselves, using spare time to do something meaningful.”
He added: “Incidentally we do not class the disabled as needy. They’re that way because they did something bad in a previous life.”