Tag Archives: problem solver

Volunteer Val

Plot

When she leaves school, young Val Wynn joins a unit of the Voluntary Overseas Organisation, which aids under-developed countries. Val’s unit is sent to Bokrama, an isolated African village, where she teaches in the school with Jack Rhodes. The hospital is managed by Doctor John Roberts and Sister Mary Jones, while Bill Coombes, an agriculturist, helps the villagers with their crop problems.

Notes

  • Art: Desmond Walduck
  • This story first appeared in 1964, so some of it’s depictions of Africa would not be as acceptable today.

Appeared

  • Volunteer Val – Judy: #249 (17 October 1964) – #262 (16 January 1965)

Other Appearances:

  • Volunteer Val – Judy Annual 1965

Penny the Post

Plot

Young Penny Hughes lives with her  grandparents in the small welsh village of Llangower. Her grandfather is postman and, when he becomes ill, Penny sacrifices her chance to go to university so that she can take over the job as postman until he is well again, thus keeping the job open for him.

Notes

  • Art: Tony Speer

Appeared

  • Penny the Post – Judy: #248 (10 October 1964) – #262 (16 January 1965)

Other Appearances:

  • Penny the Post – Judy Annual 1966

The Pink Banana

Plot

Patsy Kerr’s boutique was a fun sort of shop, it always had lots of customers which was why Patsy was always looking for new things to sell. She also ends up helping her customers in other ways too. Such as when she was out looking for driftwood for a natural sculpture and comes across a girl new to town and a dog she found. It turns out the dog was lost by one of her customers, Patsy helps reunite them and the two girls become friends and buy disco clothes in her shop.

Notes

Appeared

  • The Pink Banana – Debbie: #206 (22 January 1977) – #212 (5 March 1977)

I Wish…

  • I Wish…. – Mandy PSL:  #194  (1994)

Plot

I wish 1Helen West is an optimistic kind girl who likes to help people. She is well known around her village as she helps out at youth club and does a paper round. At the end of her paper round she reads to an old lady Mrs Stone, as well as doing small jobs for her. When Mrs Stone asks her if she could have anything in the world what would she want, Helen again shows how appreciative she is of her life, she wants for nothing – she has loving parents, a good home and friends.  The one thing she does say is that she would like to make people’s wishes come true but she knows that’s a silly dream. Not long after this conversation Mrs Stone dies and surprises Helen by leaving her nearly half million pounds that will be distributed to those of Helen’s choosing anonymously through a solicitor, Mr Benson. She wanted to make Helen’s dream of being a fairy godmother come true.

The first wish to grant is clear to Helen, when the struggling youth club’s roof collapses. Helen not only pays for repairs but also buys new equipment for the club. But she is a bit worried that the “mystery benefactor”  catches the attention of local reporter Danny Lions. She continues doing her good work getting young Kevin Jones a mountain bike for his birthday, pensioners food parcels and paying for a girl Jenny  to go for life saving operation in America.  Then one of her wishes backfires as Kevin is knocked down by a car. Mrs Jones is upset, she knew he was too young for bike, and Helen feels terrible as she never thought that Mrs Jones had safety reasons for not getting Kevin a bike, it wasn’t just about money.

i wish 2

Meanwhile Danny is  still persistent with his investigation. Due to his meddling the newspaper, hints that Major Vincent may be benefactor, as his granddaughter is a youth club member. This causes more drama as undeserving people try to wheedle money off the Major.  At this point Helen hears of genuine case when she gets talking to Tom Grayson’s mother. Tom had an accident and lost his job but when she sends a cheque his pride won’t allow him to take the money, and he is ashamed to think that his mother went begging even though she denies it. His refusal to accept help also upsets his wife and Helen is upset that another one of her “wishes” has caused more problems.

i wish 3

Even when things go right like when Helen replaces a wedding dress that was burnt in a fire,  there are still others that aren’t happy as they  think it’s a frivolous expense.   Danny begins to get suspicious of Helen, after reporting on a 100 year old woman wanting to fly, and seeing Helen waving the woman off after the mystery benefactor has paid for flights. Yet another donation doesn’t go as planned when helping church repairs fund reach its target, the vicar is disappointed because the point was to bring community together. By now she is having doubts about whether to continue her work Mr Benson convinces her to give it another shot. Helen brings a family home from Australia for parents anniversary, only the other siblings are not so happy to see people they perceive to have abandoned their family turn up out of the blue. This is final straw for Helen and she decides to donate the rest of the money to set up a talking books library. Danny Lions is there to hear this reveal and unmasks her but other than some surprised people this doesn’t have a negative impact on Helen and she is relieved to no longer be “fairy godmother”.

i wish_4

Thoughts

With the best of intentions, Helen sets out to help people, but unfortunately she doesn’t always put thought into the consequences. It is understandable as a 15 year old girl would not have the experience of an adult, so she wouldn’t think of safety concerns for a child on a bike or that a proud man may find charity insulting. Although somethings do go wrong, it’s not to diminish the things that go right, and all in all i think she does more good than bad.

i wish 5

The biggest difficult for Helen is having such responsibility put upon her with little support.  She only has Mr Benson to confide in and at the same time she has added pressure of trying to keep her donations secret from a nosy reporter. Surprising that there isn’t much consequences for being revealed as the benefactor, perhaps because at that stage, Helen doesn’t have more money to give away, so won’t be pestered by people. Other than the youth club, we don’t see the reaction of people she helped, once the secret’s out. It would be safe to assume most would be grateful, or understanding if things didn’t turn out great.

There’s a nice build up to the story, it’s established what kind of person Helen is, it shows donations working out for the better before some turn out bad. We also have Danny snooping around and Helen trying to keep her secret to add more tension to the plot. It’s interesting that at the start of the story Mrs Stone tells Helen “Your kindness is worth all the money in the world”. This does prove to be the case, Helen is a good person, she doesn’t need money herself to make her happy and she discovers money may help  others but doesn’t solve all problems either.

Cinderella of the Orphanage (1970)

Plot

Mary March was the eldest of the children at Moorlands Children’s Home and a great help to the matron, Miss Barlow.

cinderella of orphanage 1970

Notes

Appeared

  • Cinderella of the Orphanage – Judy: #526 (7 February 1970) – (?)

Other Appearances:

  • Cinderella of the Orphanage – Judy Annual 1971
  • Cinderella of the Orphanage – Judy Annual 1972
  • Cinderella of the Orphanage – Judy Annual 1973
  • Cinderella of the Orphanage – Judy Annual 1974

Do-It-All Debbie

Plot

After leaving school, Debbie Taylor, who liked variety in life, set up in business on her own, advertising she was willing to tackle any job.

do it all debbie

Notes

Appeared

  • Do-It-All Debbie– Judy:  #574 (09 January 1971) –  #579 (13 February 1971)
  • Do-It-All Debbie– Judy: circa #586 (03 April 1971) – (?)

Other Appearances:

  • Do-It-All Debbie – Judy for Girls 1972

Homefinder Babs

Plot

Babs Connors was secretary to a house agent in the small country town of Blanchester, and one of her duties was to sign up the rent books and receive the cash from those tenants who came to the office to pay their rent.

homefinder babs

Notes

  • Text story

Appeared

  • Homefinder Babs Judy:  #151 (1 December 1962) – #157?

Other Appearances:

  • Homefinder Babs (text story) Judy for Girls 1964 (annual)