December 15th, 2012

Me with Red Ribbon

Merry Christmas to all Readers of The Umbrella Organisation and all my Twitter Followers

Wishing all readers of The Umbrella Organisation & all my Twitter followers a very Happy Christmas. Best wishes for a happy, healthy & successful 2013.

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Artist: Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898)
Title: The Star of Bethlehem
Date: 1890
Current location: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham, UK

Cut and pasted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Star of Bethlehem
The Star of Bethlehem is a painting in watercolour by Sir Edward Burne-Jones depicting the Adoration of the Magi with an angel holding the star of Bethlehem. It was commissioned by the Corporation of the City of Birmingham for its new Museum and Art Gallery in 1887, two years after Burne-Jones was elected Honorary President of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists. At 101 1/8 x 152 inches, The Star of Bethlehem was the largest watercolour of the 19th century. It was completed in 1890 and was first exhibited in 1891.

Once In Royal David's City

Once in royal David's city,
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor and meek and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

And through all
His wondrous childhood,
He would honour and obey,
Love and watch the lowly maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay.
Christian children all must be,
Mild, obedient, good as He.

For He is our childhood's pattern,
Day by day like us He grew,
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew,
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that child so dear and gentle,
Is our Lord in heaven above,
And He leads His children on,
To the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him, but in heaven,
Set at God's right hand on high;
When like stars
His children crowned,
All in white shall wait around.

- Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895)

Cut and pasted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Once in Royal David's City

Once In Royal David's City is a Christmas carol originally written as a poem by Cecil Frances Alexander. The carol was first published in 1848 in Miss Cecil Humphreys' hymnbook Hymns for little Children. A year later, the English organist Henry John Gauntlett discovered the poem and set it to music.
Me with Red Ribbon

My Chosen Christmas Appeal - Peter Tatchell Foundation

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Freedom Justice etc - Sep 12
Photo courtesy Peter Tatchell

Every Christmas I choose one Christmas Appeal to give a reasonable donation to - this year (as last) the choice was a no-brainer. This year I have chosen the Peter Tatchell Foundation (PTF) whose strapline is "Speaking out for Human Rights".

Peter Tatchell Foundation
The Peter Tatchell Foundation (PTF) seeks to promote and protect the human rights of individuals, communities and nations, in the UK and internationally, in accordance with established national and international human rights law.

Peter Tatchell's recent achievements include:
- Legal action in the European Court of Human Rights in 2011, which helped prompt the government's commitment to legalise same-sex marriage
- Securing the first-ever condemnation of homophobia by a Commonwealth Secretary General
- Dialogue with the International Olympic Committee on sexism and homophobia in sport
- Helping with the Commonwealth's commitment to remove repressive criminal laws that hinder the fight against HIV
- Mobilising an email campaign that halted the execution of two Iranians who were scheduled to hang after unfair trials
- Coordinating the global Stop Murder Music campaign, which has reduced the prevalence of reggae lyrics that incite and glorify the murder of LGBT people
- Organising food, medicine and prison visits to the Malawian couple who were detained in jail for five months for holding a same-sex marriage ceremony
- Working to mobilise public and parliamentary opinion to amend Section 5 of the Public Order Act, which has been abused to inhibit free speech.

Find out more about the PTF and our campaigns here:

Please consider a donation

The PTF is independent and non-party political. We receive no Government or public funding and so we rely on individuals supporting us and our work - in terms of giving their time and also in terms of donating, either as a regular donor via standing order/direct debit (we really need regular donors who can commit to giving a set amount every month) or as a one-off donation.

This Christmas, do spare a thought for others in urgent need of help and support, less fortunate than ourselves, and please do consider becoming a regular donor, or making a one-off donation. Full details can be found here:
We do urgently need funds to enable us to continue with our work and our campaigns.

What is special about Peter?

"Don't accept the world as it is. Dream about what the world could be – then help make it happen."
- Peter Tatchell

I chose to volunteer to work for Peter because I have the deepest respect and admiration for him as a person and for his work.

Following in the pioneering footsteps of Sylvia Pankhurst, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Peter has been at the forefront of the fight for LGBT equality for over 45 years, not just in the UK but worldwide.

I admire him because he speaks up for those who do not have a voice and he is a man of principle who is prepared to stand up and be counted. He is fearless and resolute. He has endured personal abuse and suffered physical injury fighting for the cause.

Over his 45 years of campaigning for LGBT and human rights, he has helped literally thousands and thousands of people worldwide.

Peter works very long hours, tirelessly and relentlessly; he tries to help and support others to the best of his ability; and he always puts others before himself. Those are all special qualities.

What am I doing for the PTF?

I always put my money where my mouth is. I am a supporter of the PTF (ie I give money each month) but this is the age of austerity and my own financial resources are substantially depleted (to put it mildly!).

So, as I can't be as helpful as I would like on the financial front, I have done the only thing that I can do which is to give myself to the PTF! I have been volunteering at the PTF since July 2012, and am now the Casework and Research Officer there (a voluntary position):
I believe in Peter, his work, and his campaigns and so I have chosen to give over a significant proportion of my time, energy and passion to the PTF to help take the work and the campaigns forward.

The PTF is a very small organisation and runs on Peter's passion, energy, commitment and hard work. For a small organisation, the PTF has a huge profile and media presence and punches far above and beyond its weight.

Further details

If you are not able to give financially but still want to support us,

You can sign up to our FREE mailing list here:

And follow us on:

Peter himself has his own Website, his own Facebook, and his own Twitter, and you can find them here:

Thank you for your consideration.

Photo credit:
Me with Red Ribbon

End-of-year (2012) Audit: Most Popular Community Tags

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Regular readers of The Umbrella Organisation will know that I do a quarterly audit of the most frequently used "tags" on the community.

I have just done an end-of-year (2012) audit and the results are in!

Top 3

1) benedict cumberbatch — 256 uses
2) national theatre — 249 uses
3) big society — 233 uses

This community continues to be founded and built on the very firm foundations of Benedict Cumberbatch and the National Theatre. Benedict Cumberbatch and the National Theatre have been THE most popular tags since the community began! However, we have a new entry at number 3 - "big society", which reflects the fact that politics and political activism and campaigning have re-entered my life and started to become a much more important aspect of my life.

The image below combines the two most popular tags - Benedict Cumberbatch and the National Theatre!

Benedict Cumberbatch, the Creature in Frankenstein, National Theatre, 2011
The Half Exhibition, Simon Annand
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Numbers 4-10:

4) bbc — 231 uses
5) politics — 228 uses
6) theatre — 223 uses
7) tv — 212 uses
8) sherlock — 211 uses
9) film — 178 uses
10) andrew scott — 131 uses

The next 7 most popular topics are a mix of TV (including BBC), theatre, and film; politics; Sherlock (slipping down the rankings quite drastically because he has been off our screens); and Andrew Scott retains the much coveted tenth place! So, as it says on the can, a bit random!