Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Give us yer f***in’ money! 

Remember Live Aid? Remember Bob Geldof’s memorable use of the f-word on live TV?

I’m not as outspoken as (honorary) Sir Bob. Not by a very long way, although that’ll come as no surprise. Nevertheless, I am after your money, on behalf of disadvantaged children and young people throughout the UK. Early next month I’ll be setting out on a sponsored cycle ride to Amsterdam and back, to raise money for the BBC Children in Need charity.

To be honest, I never did understand this fundraising-by-sponsored-fun thing. True, there’s usually a personal challenge of some kind involved, but why should anyone expect people to donate money to charity in return for someone doing something which they actually enjoy doing and don’t need any extra encouragement to do? Or if the whole thing isn’t exactly hedonistic self-indulgence, then at the very least it’s doing something which imparts a warm inward glow of achievement to those taking part.

So, I wont pretend that I don’t want to do this and am only taking part out of the goodness of my heart in order to help raise money. To be brutally frank, I’m doing it primarily because I need challenges like this in order to keep proving myself, to myself. Don’t ask my why; I can’t answer that. But this will live in my mind as one of those experiences on which I can hang my hat.

Of course, it could yet turn out to be purgatory. It could rain every day and we could be battling a 25mph headwind all the way there. Then the wind could be perverse and switch direction to batter us all the way back as well; early September is after all only a couple of weeks away from the equinox. Or it could be calm and sunny. We’ll go all the same. And that, I suppose, is what makes it different from a few days holiday with friends. We have a goal to achieve, in a fairly tight schedule, and come what may we’ll achieve it, helping each other along the way.

In fairness, I should point out that BBC Children in Need is a UK charity, and all money raised - £32M in 2006 - goes to organisations to help fund projects that aim to improve significantly the lives of disadvantaged children and young people in the UK. Nevertheless, a child in need is a child in need, and if they’re not actually in your back yard it makes little difference if they’re 10 miles or 10,000 miles away. Either way, you’ll neither see their suffering nor share in their benefit. But if you want to donate, just click here.

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