Pleased to meet you…

Ruth-AtkinsMany moons ago, when I worked for another women’s magazine, we had a cut-out-and-keep guide to our typical reader. She served as a template and focus for us when we were planning the next issue of the magazine and was a shorthand of our demographic to help us to appeal to advertisers. From what I can remember she was 35, was attached with one child under 5 and another baby on the way, and lived in a modern three-bedroomed semi in a Southern New Town that was permanently in need of a new bathroom and kitchen and where a conservatory wouldn’t go amiss. Fortunately she was good at DIY, currently on a career break from her job at the bank and dreamt of running her own business from home. She even had a name, but that escapes me. Anyway we all had a great time planning her life for her, ensuring she had just the right outfit for her cousin’s wedding in June, helped her cook the perfect salmon dish for her midweek meals, and tried to remove every obstacle in her way. We ensured that she was never ripped off by builders, stumped by an unsightly wine stain on her sofa or was stuck on the motorway unable to change her tyre. We agonised over the perfect cover lines and giveaways so that, in the 15 minutes of Me Time a day she had, she would always be tempted to reach for our magazine over our rivals.

So I found myself wondering about what the typical Candis reader would be like. Savvy sorts, I thought. People who like to be part of the community, who tend to take most things in their stride and deploy a generous amount of common sense and compassion were needed. Then this morning I began reading about Ruth Atkins, the former nurse who volunteered to be one of the first human guinea pigs to test out the experimental Ebola vaccine in Oxford, and suddenly it came to me – she is Candis come to life! Here’s how Ruth explained why she decided to stick her neck – or rather her arm – out to help others, “I volunteered because the situation in West Africa is so tragic and I thought being part of this vaccination process was something small I could do to hopefully make a huge impact.”

No sooner had I read this than the October issue of Candis plopped through my letter box. Just below the masthead is the news that since its launch in 1962 Candis has donated over £54½ million to health charities and is still donating. Below that is a quote from this month’s cover star Ben Affleck, saying, “My priorities are family, work and giving something back to the word that will make a difference.”

Remind you of anyone? So three cheers for Ruth Atkins – a generous, charitable champion of medical science and innovation. She is enlightened self-interest in human form and if we did have a cut out and keep reader I think she would be it.

Am I right? Does that sound like you? Or have a missed a vital element? Let me know. Meanwhile, much as I would love to help wipe out hideous diseases, I have a more pressing engagement with medical science. It’s time to lose that final half stone, and that other one lurking right behind it. It’s time I started running again – it may look as if I’m doing it all for me, me, me, but I think you’ll find it’s actually an act of public philanthropy – after all running will reduce the earth’s carbon footprint quite considerably over short drives to any gym. And afterwards I think I’ll curl up with my favourite magazine and find out exactly how that lovely Ben Affleck plans to make the world a better place…

Posted by Amanda Blinkhorn

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