President's Message August 2017
At 6:30AM on a cool Sunday morning last weekend, I found myself stood at the foot of the 300M Big Daddy sand dune in the salt pans of the Namib desert, Namibia. An hour later, our party of family and friends stood triumphant at the top surveying the desert landscape for miles around.
As is customary at such moments, out came the mobile phones to capture this magic moment in the early light of dawn before we all set off on the much easier and enjoyable descent down the steep side of the dune. With the ground roaring underneath us, we were all picking up speed when almost inevitably, one of my sons tripped and took a head long dive face first into the deep sand. Having picked himself up and dusted himself down, he realised that a vital modern accessory, namely his iPhone, had fallen out of his pocket in the tumble.
As we cast our eyes over the vast face of the dune in an attempt to locate the phone, it became clear that it was gone forever, buried under a deluge of sand. After a few tears and the disappointment of the loss of so many photos of the trip, my son did the only thing he could do, which was, to get on with his holiday and resolve matters after our return to the UK.
On the following morning, I was awoken early by my usual alarm which I immediately dismissed. However, strangely, the alarm went again, only this time I realised it was my mobile ringing. Imagine my surprise when I saw it was my son's phone which was calling. I took the call and a young man called Sheridan explained that he had also been climbing the Big Daddy dune the previous day and on his descent had spotted something glinting in the sun light which had turned out to be my son's phone.
With no mobile signal in the desert he had been unable to make immediate contact and so had taken the device with him to call from his next stop-over point in Swakopmund some 250 miles away. He had then swiped the screen to see recent contacts as he was determined to return the device to its rightful owner. It so happened that Swakopmund was our next destination and we made arrangements to pick up the mobile phone that evening. Whilst it was pleasing to witness my son's delight in getting his mobile back along with all the photos he had taken on our trip, the physical loss and return of the phone is a very small matter when set against the honesty and integrity shown by Sheridan. His determination to do the right thing was truly heart-warming and something I will never forget.