A BLUE MARCHIONESS
Her fortune commanded the attention of at least
three merchant bankers.
— Sir Peter Tapsell, MP, London
One of the odd jobs I did in Parliament was to serve as Minister for sport and recreation. This brought me into contact with the International Olympic Committee during one of whose meetings I was introduced to the founders of Special Olympics, a charity set up as a memorial to President John F. Kennedy. This enables mentally disadvantaged people to compete in athletics, swimming, field sports and gymnastics under the rubric, “Let me win—but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Eunice Kennedy and her husband, Sargeant Shriver invited me to join the international board of Special Olympics and to set up a British chapter, SOUK. As chairman I was tasked with promotion which I enjoyed and fundraising which I hated.
For help I looked among others to my Anglo-Iranian pal Geoffrey Keating, now a trustee of BP’s pension fund. Characteristically he replied that he invested in only one charity, himself, but that one of his mah jong partners, an Iranian lady who had recently arrived in London, had the means as well as the kind heart needed to help. After a late night vote in Parliament, Keating drove me to a fashionable home on Chester Square where we were welcomed by a red-haired lady who turned out to be the former wife of Joe Mazandi, my correspondent in Teheran when I was foreign editor of Newsweek.