Years ago, when I first started working in a bank in London, Mike Crawshaw was my boss. Although he was the head of a huge department of people, he was so down-to-earth that he made friends with everyone.
Since then, he has co-founded an Australian-British charity that fosters education in Nepal, and also written a thriller called To Make a Killing.
For my guest post on NepaliAustralian, I interviewed him about the charity and his novel.
How did you first hear about the charity Hands Together?
My friend Anne Rose -The Chair of Trustees – approached me to be treasurer because she knew I had a financial background. In fact the charity was not yet established, and so I had to set it up with the Charity Commission.
What does Hands Together do?
Alleviates poverty and helps with education in Nepal, with a particular focus on Tiplyang which is the home village of Tul bahdur Pun. He was a Gurkha soldier who won the Victoria Cross, fighting alongside the father of the actress Joanna Lumley, the uncle of Anne Rose and Elizabeth Allmand. The three families have kept ties ever since, and Joanna Lumley is patron of the charity.
How did the charity get started, and what is your involvement with it?
Just before Tul bahadur Pun died, he asked that the school in the village of Tiplyang be rebuilt. This was done with private money from the Allmand, Lumley and Rose families, and with the help of the Gurkha Welfare Services.
The charity was then started to help run the school, and help give education and relieve poverty in surrounding areas. The original founder of Hands Together Tiplyang Project was Elizabeth Allmand who lives in Australia. She started the charity in Australia and then asked her sister, Anne Rose, to start a UK arm of the charity. For charity commission purposes the two arms have to be separate, but in fact we work as one and make all decisions together.
What are the things you like most about Nepal?
The peaceful loving nature of the rural population, their spirituality throughout every day life, and the natural beauty of the mountains.
How often do you visit Nepal?
Twice in the last three years.
I know you like the outdoors and that you’ve enjoyed camping for years. What is your favourite thing to do when you visit Nepal?
Take in the views of the Himalayas from a quiet mountain spot.
You have decided to donate all the proceeds from your novel to the Hands Together charity. What is your book about? (No spoilers!)
It’s a banker-bashing murder mystery.
The book is very witty, and the main character is a real joker. How much of it is based on real people and real events?
All of it and none of it! In the acknowledgements, I have written: “This is a work of fiction.” But clearly a little part of many people has inevitably, sometimes subconsciously, been absorbed into characters and settings. You know who you are!
Although your book is a crime story, it is deeper than the average thriller. What message does your book aim to give people?
It’s partly a modern day morality tale, with the old message that money doesn’t buy you happiness.
What kind of people would enjoy reading To Make a Killing?
I have found so many different types have enjoyed it: pensioners, teenagers, priests, footballers, mothers, daughters. It is an easy read, with simple humour and a highly topical story line, so I think it has pretty broad appeal.
To Make a Killing is available from Amazon.com or to order direct from the publishers www.tomakeakilling.com. All proceeds from the book are donated to the charity Hands Together.
If you wish to make a direct donation to the charity, you can do so via their website.