Avatar photo

Raluca Bragarea

Head of Communications, Bucharest

Part of UK in Romania

28th March 2011 Bucharest, Romania

Guest blogger: The rewarding side of consular work

Recently I said I would invite guest bloggers, some of them Embassy colleagues and other members of the expat community, to write about their work and experiences in Romania. The first story comes from our Consul Barry Davidson, who shares a bit of what goes on when children, great football and consular work come together.

The rewarding side of consular work …

Consular work does not always have to be dealing with distressed and upset British Nationals all of the time. There is a brighter side.

On a consular deployment for Chelsea’s visit to Cluj in the Champions League group match in September 2008 I was  approached by a British National who ran an organisation, The Little People, that seeks to raise awareness of paediatric cancer in Romania and provide help and support to those young people undergoing or have completed treatment for cancer, or their families.

The request? Could I assist in getting the Chelsea players to the hospital to visit the sick children in an attempt to brighten up the lives of those less fortunate?

All it took was one telephone call to the Security and Safety Officer of the club and an invitation was issued to the children to watch the training sessions. As the payers made their way onto the pitch for the session, each player took time to sign autographs and have their pictures taken with the children. The awe-struck reaction by the children to meeting the likes of John Terry, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard et al was fantastic to watch.

This then set the precedent for future visiting British teams. Since then different branches of the “Little People” have had the chance to meet Steven Gerrard, Fernado Torres etc of Liverpool in Bucharest earlier this year and most recently Manchester City, who were playing Timisoara.

Manchester City have now posted a small film about their meet and greet with the “Little People”. The children were also invited to the game as guests of Manchester City. The teams match day events co-ordinator commented that “this is one of the best pieces of community activity we have ever done!”

Though not strictly part of consular work, it is something that takes very little time to do and gives something to those less fortunate than most of us – what better way can the Embassy be more involved in the community?

This has been one of the best activities that I have been fortunate to be involved in.

I subsequently received this report from one of the volunteers who took a card signed by the Manchester City players and a downloaded version of the film to one of the young people in isolation following a transplant earlier in August. For me this says it all…

“I was visiting Razvan. He is 22 years old and was a football player 9 years (2 years he was a professional football player). Razvan had his transplant in the 10th of August and he is now at the first floor at intensive treatment. I could see him through the big window. He didn’t felt well at all. The nurses told me that he haven’t had a smiled on his face for long long time… He couldn’t speak and neither listen, so I used my laptop and wrote some big messages on it! I showed him the paper with all the autographs and…. HE SMILED!!!! His face was shinning! I put the laptop very close to the window and I showed him all the pictures with the Manchester City meeting. He whispered the name of every single player… he knew them all! We laughed together because Tevez seemed to be as tall as me in the pictures… 🙂 He nodded that he watched the game.”

About Raluca Bragarea

I joined the British Embassy in 2004, and have ever since enjoyed one of the most diverse and challenging jobs as a professional communicator, from partnering up with MTV Romania…

I joined the British Embassy in 2004, and have ever since
enjoyed one of the most diverse and challenging jobs as a professional
communicator, from partnering up with MTV Romania to promote the UN
anti-poverty agenda to handling Prince Charles’ press conference on a
hill top in picturesque Transylvania. One of the highlights working for
the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been the introduction of an
internship scheme in the Embassy; we bring along students from various
backgrounds to help us deliver our objectives while they get a unique
opportunity to learn hands-on about diplomacy.
I am a former TV journalist, specialising in foreign affairs, and a
Fulbright scholar. I hold a Master of Arts in Information and
Communication Studies with California State University at Chico.
I am a major cafe latte fan and like to collect hand-painted icons.
My other hobbies include travelling and watching movies with friends,
particularly Quentin Tarantino’s. The latest memorable film I watched
was District 9, a superb science fiction with a social twist – anybody
seen it?

Follow Raluca