Featured Advocate: Brian Taylor
My name is Brian Taylor, aged 54 from Tayport, Fife in Scotland. I have been married to my wife Angela for 28 years and have two daughters, Briony and Sara. My home town is Cowdenbeath where I stayed until 1989 when I left to join the Royal Air Force (RAF). I served for a total of 22 years leaving in 2011.
My hobby is raising money for charities! 20 years later I have raised over £80,000 for over 30 different charities!
Currently, I am writing books for charity. I completed my first one last year and in the process of finishing my second book at present.
What excites you?
The faces of people when you're handing over a donation. Either from directly fundraising for them or a simple contribution from a charity fund.
I try to stay away from mainstream, national and international charities. They do remarkable work, but I am always skeptical of where my donation goes! To make a difference or pay some director's bonus!
Therefore, the best feeling is when giving a donation to a smaller local charity when you know this will make a massive difference to what they do.
Although doing a fundraiser can be quite time consuming and take up a lot of personal time, the excitement I get when handing over a donation far outweighs the work.
I have been raising money now for 20 years amassing nearly £80,000 along the way, for over 20 different charities.
Usually, I hold a football tournament followed by an auction. The tournament brings in guaranteed sponsorship money while the auction, well it is a lottery on what you can make!
The excitement of watching items you have collected being fought over by adults, wanting that piece of memorabilia at all cost, pushing the final total up and up.
Finally, the excitement I felt when I opened my boxes to finally get my printed book in my hands was very emotional. Felt as is if I would never get there and just knowing it would make a difference filled me with enormous pride.
What matters to you?
I am very self-motivated and impulsive! I will always be on the lookout for my next venture. I suppose I am subconsciously scouring information for my next event.
What matters to me is, I am searching for people doing the smallest of things but just trying to make a difference to other people's lives. I can then try and help by giving them something which they can auction or sell to boost their total. Also, I can donate from my workplace 'Employees Charity Fund'.
I want to see people getting out there and doing something, big or small, but getting of their backside. There is nothing better than telling people "I will match what you raise?" as opposed to others who think sending out letters, emails and text messages is a viable effort!
What drives you?
My motivation comes from within as I realise what I have has no bearing on other people. If I can make one person feel good about themselves, then why not? If I can help one homeless person get off the street, then why not? If I can help a veteran get some normality back, then why not? That is what drives me to be my better self.
What do you stand for?
I think just fairness! As a veteran of 22 years in the Royal Air Force (RAF).
We have veterans who fought for our country now living on the streets, suffering mental health issues like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and far worse, they are taking their own lives! It is estimated that there are approximately 6,000 ex Armed Forces personnel homeless in the UK! That is unacceptable in today's modern society.
I will leave it there with a staggering statistic that, 14 Veterans killed themselves between February and March this year!
What inspired you to donate to charity and how did you come up with the idea to write for charities?
In 2000, while serving in the RAF, we had a bit of banter in our station football team going on, who was better Scotland or England? I decided to set up a game and got some auction prizes from various organisations. We raised funds for the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA) charity. And my love for raising money for charity was born.
The idea to write for charity happened by chance. I wrote my first book after coming up with the idea to make up a story to read to my children. I wrote it down and thought it would be brilliant to get it published, unfortunately no one would help.
Apparently, you need to be published to get an agent and to get an agent you need to be published!
So, as it was for charity and the hope was I would make more from selling printed copies than the cost of printing them my work has a Charity Fund who agreed to pay for printing 500 copies, at a cost of £670. I am selling these at £5, and to date I have raised £2,400.
I found a superb children's charity www.tobysmagicaljourney.co.uk who would benefit from all 100% of the proceeds.
I always had a sequel in mind for the book and knew it had an Armed Forces theme.
Therefore, I wanted the proceeds this time to go to a Veteran's charity.
The charity, www.erskine.org.uk has cared for veterans since 1916 and continues to do a remarkable job to this day. If the money raised from the book can make just one veterans live more comfortable then it will have been a success.
What causes are special to your heart?
Obviously, any charities across all the branches of the Armed Forces are special to me.
Erskine covers that perfectly for me and is based here in Scotland.
Erskine provides unrivalled support to veterans in Scotland, through four care homes and a Veterans Village, comprising of 44 cottages, an Activity Centre, five Assisted Living Apartments and 24 Single Living Apartments (currently under construction).
Children's charities are heart-breaking at times but the way they adapt is something maybe us adults could take on board. Again, if I can make just one child's life more enjoyable then all the years of fundraising would be worth it.
What's the difference you want to make?
There was never any goal on what I wanted to achieve. Each contribution I make is determined on the cause. As I said previously, if making just one person feel safe, more confident or contribute to helping them change their life, then I can feel pleased with myself. If I can change more than one life, then my personal legacy will fill me with pride.
If there's one message you want to leave readers with, what would it be?
My message is simple.
One simple act of kindness, however small or trivial it may feel like to you, can mean the world to someone else!
Find out more by clicking here:
Brian Taylor - Author For Charity
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