Dear Emma...

There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart
— Jane Austen

By John-Paul Flintoff

As one of 25 craftivists stitching to raise wages at Marks & Spencer, I was given the task of contacting Emma Thompson, one of the “leading ladies” in M&S’s recent ad campaign. Other craftivists were assigned to contact M&S board members, representatives of major shareholders, and other “leading ladies”.

At Sarah Corbett’s suggestion, I included a quote from Jane Austen – because Emma Thompson wrote, and starred in, the 1995 film of Austen’s Sense & Sensibility. The quote I chose was: “There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.” And I included a couple of nose-related puns.

Having finally finished stitching, I set about writing a letter to Ms Thompson. But as an ordinary letter I didn’t like it, so I made a hand-stitched booklet, drew an orchid on the cover, and re-wrote my letter in that.

The letter included some information about the importance of a Living Wage, and a request that Ms Thompson might send a note about it to the CEO at M&S, Marc Bolland, if she had the time. Also, I put in a bit about me – particularly, how I have been shopping at M&S for as long as I can remember, and how much I have always enjoyed her work. And I thanked her for all the great things she has done, continues to do – and will do in the future.

The hanky was wrapped in brown paper, and tied with a ribbon, then sent in an envelope along with research into the benefits of a Living Wage put together by Share Action UK, directly to Emma Thompson’s house. If and when I ever hear from her (or “you”, if you happen to be Emma Thompson), I will update this post.

Posted: July 6, 2015