Heroes of the festival: a good doctor answers the humanitarian call


In a spirit of gratitude to all those whose hard work, encouragement and friendship have sustained the capital’s festival community over the years, the Edinburgh International Festival celebrates its 75th anniversary by highlighting the heroes of festival – people who selflessly opened their hearts and homes, and welcomed the world to Edinburgh.

Dr Howard Moody, 79, is a retired medical professional who has lived in his Bruntsfield home for more than half a century. He speaks fondly of his neighbors who very strongly got on board with his idea of ​​a street-wide drive-up for their local food bank at Bruntsfield Evangelical Church.What started in March 2020 with a wheelbarrow doing Door-to-Door is now a three-wheelbarrow operation that collects at least 150 items a week every Friday.

Howard calculates they’ve collected over 15,000 different items, from toothpaste to canned tuna – anything with a long shelf life is welcome. He says, “People are very generous! And I have no recollection of anyone ever taking the food that people leave in their driveways or on the street for us to pick up.

GOOD PRACTICES: Dr Howard Moody at his home in Bruntsfield. Photo: Jess Shurte

This month is a holiday for the operation, due to the holidays, but there are no signs of slowing down for Howard, who is already planning special collections in early September, before Christmas and Easter, when the community is encouraged. to donate more specific items, such as school supplies or children’s toys.

After having to jump through many hoops and fill in piles of paperwork, in May this year Howard and his wife, Alison, welcomed into their home a 37-year-old mother and 11-year-old daughter who had fled the war in Ukraine.

Their home, a few hours north of Mariupol, had been heavily shelled by Russian forces and is now shelled by Ukrainians trying to push back the Russians. The mother has been granted a three-year visa and is trying to get the rest of her family out of Ukraine and to safety, but not her husband, who is not allowed to leave because he is of age of conscription.

As well as having a masters in economics, she is also a trained baker and found a job at a local bakery ten days after arriving in Scotland, when her daughter is already enrolled in school.

Howard adds, “People, with half a chance, are really great. The school waived all fees, including the holiday club, and the parents, as soon as they heard about her, sorted out her uniform.

Attend Thank You Edinburgh, a free Edinburgh International Festival concert, featuring the Philadelphia Orchestra, broadcast live from Princess Street Gardens from The Playhouse at 3pm on Saturday August 27th. For more information see www.eif.co.uk


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