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Be positive: You never know the effect your words will have ...
He was treated in all seriousness and given a measured and sensible reply, and who knew what will happen. Well, in this case we can see what happened.
The lesson is clear: Just because someone has unbelievably ambitious expectations, always take them seriously. You have no idea what they can achieve provided no one gets in their way.
I need to learn this. I am too quick to judge, too quick to criticise, and way too quick to point out why something won't work. I'll remember this for a long time.
Transcript follows ...
Nine-year-old Anthony Hollander to Blue Peter, 29 June 1973.
Dear Val, Jhon, Peter and Lesslie,
This may seem very strange, but I think I no how to make people or animals alive. Why Im teling you is because I cant get the things I need
A list of what I need.
1. Diagram of how everything works. [inside youre body.]
Sorry, but in number 6 in the list the box needs lid. If you do get them on 1st March I can pay £10, £11, £12, £13 or £14.
Send your answer to me,
Love from Anthony Peter Hollander.
Biddy Baxter, editor of Blue Peter, to Anthony Hollander.
We were interested to hear that you think you know how to make living people -- and your list of necessary items intrigued us! We are sorry we can't help you at all, but we wondered if you had thought of talking to your family doctor -- he might be able to help you with some diagrams and other information.
(Professor Anthony Hollander, now head of the Institute of Integrative Biology at Liverpool University, was a member of the team that implanted an artificially grown windpipe into a 30-year-old woman in 2008. He has said that if Biddy Baxter's reply "had shown any hint of ridicule or disbelief, I might perhaps never have trained to become a medical scientist or been driven to achieve the impossible dream, and really make a difference to a human being's life".)
I've decided no longer to include comments directly via the Disqus (or any other) system. Instead, I'd be more than delighted to get emails from people who wish to make comments or engage in discussion. Comments will then be integrated into the page as and when they are appropriate.
If the number of emails/comments gets too large to handle then I might return to a semi-automated system. That's looking increasingly unlikely.
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