Last summer, I eavesdropped on some exceedingly good deeds being done by a creative and kindly Londoner, one Bernadette Russell. I won a commission for the PRX Global Story Project run by the American Public Radio Exchange, so turned the audio into a documentary featurette. It’s since been bought by the NPR stations KUT in Austin, Texas and KHSU in Arcata, California and just in time for Valentine’s, it led to Bernadette being invited onto BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live as a guest- alongside the Milkman of Human Kindness himself, Mr. Billy Bragg. Please read on for the full spiel, or better still take a listen to the 6 minute, 15 second sound story here.
During the leap year of 2012, Bernadette Russell embarked on a mission to complete 366 Days of Kindness. Her efforts were prompted by the riots that spread through her adopted home town of London and across English towns and cities, between 6th and 10th August 2011.
Bernadette has left sweets in phone boxes, books on trains, £5 notes on buses. She has given away balloons, cakes, flowers and lottery tickets, written letters to a soldier returned from Afghanistan and offered her socks to the homeless. She practiced ‘targeted’ rather than ‘random’ acts of kindness but she says she ‘expected nothing in return.’
Bernadette is now turning her 366 philanthropic experiences into a stage play, in collaboration with Jacksons Lane Theatre in London and with support from Birmingham Rep and Forkbeard Fantasy.