Peter Rhodes on heroism, the Paddington deal and growing old

Advert on eBay: “26 ft sailing boat selling due to Freemasons / cocaine users / women.” I bet there's a story behind that.

Betting shops - like Robin Hood in reverse
Betting shops - like Robin Hood in reverse

“I don't know if anyone is taking bets on the number of illegal immigrants who will be deported to Rwanda but I might risk a fiver on a nice round zero.” (from this column, April 19).

Thanks to our war-fighting culture, we associate heroism with the battlefield. The classic line comes in Macauley's epic poem about Horatius defending the bridge: “And how can man die better than facing fearful odds / For the ashes of his fathers, and the temples of his Gods?” But there is a better way to die. It is in sacrificing your life to save those whose lives have only just begun. Hywel Morgan, a 47-year-old father, plunged into the sea off mid-Wales to rescue children caught in a riptide. The kids survived but he perished. He began the day as an ordinary bloke, ended it as a hero and will be remembered as long as those children live.

According to one estimate, the sketch involving the Queen and Paddington Bear is worth about £200 million in publicity terms. It was certainly a global game-changer for the Paddington brand . It was also a priceless plug for the British Monarchy. So did money change hands? If so, who paid whom and how much? I doubt we will ever know.

The strangest thing about the Jubilee was how many people declared that we will never see anything like it again. Of course we will. The Queen is not immortal and most of us will witness the ultimate Royal Funeral followed by the bling and ballyhoo of another Coronation with crowds again pouring into the Mall, led by the Guards and followed by double-decker buses and an assortment of old bangers. I bet Cliff Richard is already booked.

Anyone surprised at Bristol University's research showing that betting shops are far commoner in deprived areas than wealthy ones? Gambling has always been like Robin Hood in reverse. It robs the poor to feed the rich.

A Guardian writer begins his column: “I’m nearly 60. Here’s what I’ve learned about growing old so far.” Trust me, sonny. At 60 no-one has learned anything about growing old.

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