Little at Large: Something doesn't smell right with PDSA's story of old socks

Despite falling donations, there are still hidden rivers of generosity coursing through the veins of the British public. Just be careful not to tap into them.

PDSA did so inadvertently when Scottish tabloid The Weekly News broke the erroneous story that the charity was requesting donations of old socks to be used as animal bandages. The Sun picked it up and within hours PDSA charity shops were fending off hundreds of people keen to find a good home for their holey old hosiery. "We were inundated," said a spokesman for the charity. One man even donated seven suitcases of old socks to PDSA's Worthing branch. The charity is still mystified as to the source of the story, but is now fighting a 'No Socks' PR battle to try to stem the flow.

- A brief behind-the-scenes glimpse of life at the Charity Commission was granted at the regulator's annual public meeting last week. Nick Allaway, director of charity information and corporate services, told of a recent plea he and three other directors had made to Andrew Hind, the regulator's chief executive.

"Maybe you could let us think outside the box a bit?" they asked. "I think I could agree to that," replied Hind. "Provided it was a very small box."

- Third Sector columnist John Knight indulged his love of opera with a trip to London's Covent Garden recently. But the head of external affairs at Leonard Cheshire was alarmed to find Four Weddings and a Funeral star Hugh Grant in the seat he was expecting to use at the Royal Opera House.

Grant lived up to his charming, quintessentially English on-screen persona, apologising profusely and moving to another seat. The opera, incidentally, was Don Giovanni, the tale of the legendary philanderer - clearly no relation to anyone's persona, on screen or off.

- Mathew Little is a freelance writer mathew.little@haymarket.com.

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