Story 32

He would come in for a chat

Leonard’s office at Maunsel Street was at No. 3, while we were at 26-29 – this was as far away as we could get!

Carmel Short talking to Leonard Cheshire

We would have a lot of work to do and he would come in for a chat, with his good ideas and so on. He was disruptive! His office wouldn’t give him much money for expenses each day when he came up to London as he would give it away to the first homeless person he could find.

Even if he had been given his fare to where ever he was going, he would get to the station without his money and ask if he could leave his name and address and we could pick up the bill. And they would say ‘Right, name and address?’ he’s say ‘Leonard Cheshire’ and they’d say ‘Oh! Where do you want to go?’ It was the same with taxi drivers.

On one occasion I remember Leonard arrived at eight in the morning and came in to me saying I had to open the safe to get him some money to pay the taxi driver, as he had to make the taxi driver a cup of tea! So Leonard went off to No. 3 and the taxi driver came in and said ‘Ah! That’s Leonard Cheshire; I can’t take money from him!’ I insisted on paying for that trip, and he said ‘Now he’s making me a cup of tea!’ So he stayed on and that morning Leonard had various appointments and he drove him a round all morning, for free, because he was so overcome!

Read more about Carmel’s memories of Leonard on our Rewind website.

His office wouldn’t give him much money for expenses each day when he came up to London as he would give it away to the first homeless person he could find.