Paper round

At the height of the liquidity crisis that engulfed Northern Rock last week, it is possible to imagine its executives cursing the bank's commitment to giving away 5 per cent of its annual profits to its eponymous foundation.

However, according to the Financial Times, Northern Rock's charitable arm might have been a factor in helping the bank solidify again. It reported that some people responded to a local newspaper's campaign to support the Northern Rock Foundation by opening accounts with the bank. Among the plucky few swimming against the human tide were two teachers, various business leaders and former Newcastle United and England manager Sir Bobby Robson.

Another reminder that what goes up must come down was provided by Plymouth paper The Herald, with news that the local Asda supermarket cancelled its plans for a helium balloon race in aid of Breast Cancer Research after environmentalists expressed concern that the brightly coloured globules would be gobbled up by dolphins and other aquatic fauna when gravity finally got the better of them.

Sue Kinsey, adopt-a-beach officer for the Marine Conservation Society, said: "It's not that we want to stop people celebrating or from marking an issue, but there are plenty of other fun things to do with balloons that don't harm wildlife."

On the subject of ravenous marine mammals, Dive magazine reported that 500 penguin-suited diners were all set to splosh into a west London swimming pool last Saturday in an attempt to break the record for the world's largest formal underwater dinner party and raise more than £200,000 for charities, including Save the Children, the Shooting Star Hospice, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the British Heart Foundation.

Diners, who were not required to demonstrate previous scuba experience, included actors Nigel Havers and James Dreyfus and presenter Adrian Chiles. Alas, there was no word of what the three-course meal consisted of, but Paper Round is guessing that fish might have featured prominently.


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