When honours are deserved
14 June, 2018 — By John Gulliver
Dame Emma [Pic Justin Harris]
GONGS, what are they worth? The honours system has acquired a bad name in recent years, and no wonder when you see the friends of politicians who have picked them up.
But there are exceptions – and two of them are Camden people: Emma Thompson and Lloyd Dorfman, one an actress with a conscience, the other a big company man whose love of the theatre has poured in millions to set up cheap ticket schemes.
When I met Mr Dorfman, at a charity event recently, he was affable and keen to talk about the theatre. And no wonder, for Mr Dorfman gave £10million to help the National Theatre for a cheap ticket scheme, a few million to the Royal Opera House, again for another similar scheme.
Mr Dorfman had an idea about foreign currency – and the result: the conglomerate Travelex.
Now, it’s Sir Lloyd. Well, there’s some sense there.
As for Emma Thompson, Oscar winner, who can name her own price for film and stage parts, has lived for decades in a modest West Hampstead house. There’s something touching about that. Emma, who is now Dame Emma, never hesitated to support local causes.
I joined her several years ago on a march to save a women’s organisation in Queen’s Crescent, Kentish Town, and more recently she has supported Helen Bamber’s foundation to support torture victims and a few months ago, even though she had just recovered from pneumonia, joined the campaign to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, jailed in Iran.