Today I had the immense privilege of hosting a lunch for one of life’s true and great heroines. In 2008 Robbie Hughes was attacked and badly beaten whilst on holiday in Crete. His mother, Maggie, flew out to be at his bedside. Severely brain-damaged, Robbie almost died. He will never fully recover but, a survivor, has been invited to play in England’s football team in the 2012 Paralympics. When she joined her son in Crete and started to live through the horrible trauma of his illness and major operations, Maggie found that everybody was very nice and helpful but that there was an almost complete absence of structured help, support and advice. Maggie, standing beside me in the picture, is (and she won’t mind me saying this) a very normal, modest person, but somehow, in the midst of her tragic experience and with a truly extrordinary inner moral force ,she decided that ‘something good has to come out of something as bad as this’ and so she launched a campaign to get structured help for families of people injured or attacked whilst abroad. Kathleen Walker Shaw, an EESC member (second from left in the picture), brought her to Brussels because at the moment the European Commission is about to produce draft legislation in this very area and, indeed, the Commission (the responsible Commissioner is Viviane Reding) and European Parliamentarians have been very receptive to the many suggestions Maggie has to make. During the lunch, we heard from Maggie how devastating this sudden catastrophe had been for her and her family (the other lady in the picture is Maggie’s daughter, Alaina). Maggie could very easily have become an embittered and cynical person, but she didn’t. She has become a simple, honest, insistent and powerful force for good; truly, one of life’s great heroines. Maggie’s campaign (‘Please enjoy don’t destroy’) website is here.