Third Sector at Large: Foxie chews the tax chair, while Roxie rides again

Lord Wei, Whitehall cuts and charity badges are all on our minds this week

- John Hemming, chair of the Charity Tax Group, was walking home one night last week, dealing with messages on his mobile (as you do), when he experienced a sharp pain in his lower leg.To his astonishment he'd trodden on, and been bitten by, a fox that was lying on the pavement. It was unable to move away - and in a particularly bad mood, presumably - because it had been hit by a car. Both parties limped away, Hemming for some precautionary jabs and the fox to its home under the dustbins. Denis Healey once famously compared a verbal attack by Sir Geoffrey Howe to being savaged by a dead sheep: being mauled by a half-dead urban fox takes us into fresh territory.

- The news last week that Lord Wei is reducing his unpaid hours in the Cabinet Office is not causing much consternation among voluntary sector leaders. Those who meet the youthful guru tend to come away underwhelmed, or perplexed, or both. As the big society project continues to struggle, might there be an element of push as well as jump here? Either way, one view is that the Wei phenomenon resembles the Peter Sellers film Being There, in which a child-like gardener rises to be a presidential aide on the strength of his gnomic utterances.

- Charity chief executives do get up to some unusual things in their spare time, and some of them are quite creative as well. Take Kristen Ashley, leader of the Pituitary Foundation, who has recently published Rock Chick Redemption, the third novel in a series featuring Roxie, a teen tearaway. "Roxie rides out kidnappings, car chases, high-society parties and strip club riots," gushes the blurb. It must take Ashley's mind off the day job and the data protection wrangle the charity's been having with a former volunter. She hails from Brownsburg, Indiana (someone has to).

- It's good to hear austerity is being shared out, and is affecting Whitehall as well as the voluntary sector. "These spending cuts," snapped one press officer last week as she fumbled to jot down a phone number. "You can't even find a pen around here these days." Donations welcome, we're sure.

- Have another look at Anne Marie Carrie, with the Barnardo's badge clipped to her dress in our interview. Tom Wright of Age UK, Thomas Hughes-Hallet of Marie Curie - they've all got their little badges in their buttonholes. Is it part of a chief exec's job description these days to be a walking brand extension? Is it irritating, or are we just being crabby?

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