I HAVE rarely met any man who, once acquainted with him, did not wish he was George Bailey. Hard hearts soften, mild envy takes over and smiles are guaranteed.

If you don’t know George Bailey you haven’t seen that masterpiece film of the 1940s It’s a Wonderful Life starring James Stewart.

George feels that after a lifetime, most of it spent doing things for others against his own ambitions, and now facing reputational and financial ruin, that it would be better had he never been born.

He considers suicide but his inept guardian angel Clarence has other ideas.

He gives him the chance to see what life for many would have been like had he not been around – how each life touches so many people, so much of it for the good.

The outcome is both tear-jerking and inspiring.

Friends say I know the part of George almost as well as the late James Stewart because I take every opportunity to play the film on tape or disc. I make no apologies.

Now the film has spawned a play – a radio play –and this is at the Oxford Playhouse next week.

Rumour has it that a handkerchief might be useful. I’ll risk it because George is the chap so many would like to be – and you can place me near the top of that list.

NOT that I wish to upstage the current TV advertisement from a High Street bank that tells of a treasured lost scarf being returned to its owner, but mine is a similar story.

Banbury councillor Kieron Mallon phoned to say a photocard from my camera had been found at Upton House, the National Trust property between the town and Stratford-upon-Avon.

I assured him I hadn’t been near the place for at least two years.

The tiny card had been passed to the property’s marketing and events manager, Victoria Wright.

She checked through the pictures, saw some were obviously family snaps as well as a couple from a parade of ex-servicemen last year.

She got in touch with the British Legion and then former Irish Guardsman Coun Mallon. He recognised me but didn’t know my phone number but contacted my fellow Tank Regiment stalwart, 90-year-old Bert Dowler, who did.

Coun Mallon’s call convinced me the card was mine by describing some of the pictures featuring grandsons. I should call her.

Victoria was overjoyed to know her lengthy detective work had been a success.

I was equally so, although for the life in me I hadn’t realised I’d lost the card – let alone at Upton House.

It was restored when I drove over and met the delightful super-sleuth.

Thank you, Victoria.