At Large: Women may be taking over, but Grylls is the hit of awards night

Plus: Mark Astarita and Agadoo; when does soon mean soon in the House of Lords; and Sir Stephen Bubb's active mind

Bear Grylls (left) with Awards host Hal Cruttenden
Bear Grylls (left) with Awards host Hal Cruttenden

We know women outnumber men in the sector, except at the top. You wouldn't have thought that at the Third Sector Awards in September, where the top table included at least four high-octane female bosses: Helen Stephenson of the Charity Commission, Vicky Browning of Acevo, Jane Ide of Navca and Debra Allcock Tyler of the Directory of Social Change. But the person most besieged for autographs was charismatic he-man and Chief Scout Bear Grylls who collected the Communications Campaign award for the woggle-wearers.

Mark Astarita ended his 14 years as head of fundraising at the British Red Cross in October with a modest tweet: "I am told my career fundraising has seen me responsible for raising £1.7bn. Blimey!" He later tweeted his Guinness World Records certificate for participating in the world's largest Agadoo dance at the 2012 Institute of Fundraising convention.

The recent commencement of long-delayed legislation allowing charities to convert to new-fangled charitable incorporated organisations led to a short but pithy debate in the Lords. Conservative peer Lord Ashton said the government's long-awaited response to the Lords committee report Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society would be published soon. "Soon never means soon," grumbled Labour's Lord Stevenson. Ashton retorted: "I have spent a long time at this dispatch box debating what "soon" means, and "very soon" and "imminent". But in this case it is "soon". Are we any the wiser?

Sir Stephen Bubb's plans for his Charity Futures outfit are progressing, with intriguing hints about a new landmark building in Oxford. Also progressing is Bubbles's age: his 65th was marked with prosecco, a jazz band and a glittering guest list at Brixton's hip Ritzy cinema. The former head of Acevo confided he had been "no trouble" as a child, when his mother chipped in: "Yes, but he had a very active mind." That seems still to be so.

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