Paper Round

Raising money for charity can be a risky business, as rower James Cracknell recently found out.

The two-times Olympic gold medallist was knocked out for 45 seconds during a London boxing match held in aid of the children's medical research charity Sparks. According to The Daily Telegraph, Cracknell found himself on the receiving end of several sharp blows from former New Zealand cricketer Kerry Walmsley, who weighed in at nearly two stone heavier.

The brutality of the event has led to the trustees of Sparks disassociating themselves from charity boxing bouts. "The trustees viewed the footage of our patrons fighting and felt uneasy about what happened to James," Paul Connew, head of communications at Sparks, told the newspaper.

Perhaps Sparks should follow One Step Beyond, the Scottish campaign to supply charities in Africa and Asia with footwear, and stick to more sedate fundraisers. Instead of getting celebrities to trade blows, it claimed a world record with a two-and-a-half-mile line of 18,000 pairs of shoes in Aberdeen. According to The Press and Journal, the collection included everything from cowboy boots to ballet pumps, and some pairs were donated by celebrities such as Emma Thompson and Ewan McGregor.

Charities in Norfolk, however, say it's not always easy to keep fundraising so clean. Several have complained to the Norwich Evening News about the effects of the Institute of Fundraising's code on collection boxes. They say that local businesses are becoming increasingly reluctant to host collection boxes because of institute requirements such as fitting them with anti-tampering devices. Doreen Betts, chair of Community Action Norwich, said: "Such bureaucracy is pulling the plug on a lot of charitable work."

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