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A Time of Gifts

June 19, 2017

Our recent visit to Crete was memorable in many ways and far different from the normal holiday experience. Part of our time there was spent in promoting The Fountain of Daphne, the most recent title in my Greek Island Romance series. For those who are unfamiliar with the background to this book, all royalties earned from sales in either paperback or eBook format will go directly to ELEPAP in Chania, the rehabilitation and therapy centre for disabled children through to adulthood.

The promotional work, which included an interview and full-page spread published in Xaniotika Nea the local newspaper, was most rewarding. However, the greatest reward for us came on the final day of our stay. We were visited by Maggie, the centre manager, and Ariadni, chairperson of the parents association, whose purpose was to deliver ‘something’. We had no idea what that might be, and certainly nothing could have prepared us for the surprise they had in store for us when they presented us with two wonderful gifts.

Val’s came in the form of a unique charm manufactured by the renowned jeweller Zolotas. It is the symbol of the beautiful goddess Calypso, decorated with waves from the sea and the constellation Ursa Major. The charm depicts Calypso’s unstinting generosity when she released Odysseus and provided help and guidance for his voyage from Ogygia to Ithaca and reunion with his devoted wife Penelope.

At the same time, I was presented with the medal you can see in the photograph. The facing side is inscribed ‘ELEPAP, steps forward for the child with disability.’ The reverse reads: ‘The treasures of ELEPAP: Acceptance: Co-operation: Equality and Love.’

It is fair to say that I could not have felt prouder than any Olympian standing on a rostrum when I was given this medal. Quite simply, it is undoubtedly the most precious gift I have ever received. I’m not referring to the monetary value, which is immaterial, but as a symbol of what it represents means I will treasure both the gift and the sentiment always.

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