FUNDRAISING NEWS: Why I Give

Sally Oliver is Lady Mayoress of the City of London. As co-founder of The Square Smile charity with the Lord Mayor, Oliver took a course in circus skills and will be stilt walking this week for the appeal's first Fun Day.

What is the Square Smile?

It is a charity that we set up to support the Barts Cancer Centre of Excellence and five mental health projects in London, including funding the training of 100 volunteers for SANE. Mental health is the cinderella of charities and as Mayoress, I wanted to transfer a little glamour to the cause.

How much money have you raised this year?

The Square Smile campaign has secured £2 million so far and we want to raise an additional £500,000 by the end of our year in office. In August, I abseiled 622 feet down Canary Wharf, which was only really scary when I could see the birds below me. The event raised £300,000.

Why did you choose to learn circus skills as a way to raise funds?

Mainly because it is showy, fun and a great mood creator. When I first started learning last year it was hard because I got incredibly sick.

Some of the Cirque du Soleil artists, who were training at the same centre, recommended that I sit on a swing reading a newspaper. After spending one hour a day for 10 days on a child's swing, I overcame my motion sickness.

What other charities do you give time to?

I am a trustee of the National Missing Persons Helpline and deputy president of the Red Cross, London. These are my two main charities which I am committed to and do a lot of work behind the scenes for.

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