Opinion: A man without naked ambitions

Peter Stanford, a writer and broadcaster and sits on various trustee boards

My sincere thanks to all of you who have sent in condolence messages telling me that my hairstyle is not quite as bad as suggested in a letter from Neil Wyatt (Third Sector, 26 January). His sartorial assessment was generously rammed home by our resident cartoonist, who had my mullet looking even more like that of an Edwardian lady in a high wind than the new picture which graces (if that is the right word) my column. Yes, correspondents, I do indeed have hair at the back of my head, but a technical explanation about back-lighting would make me sound like a silly, vain 40-something.

I suppose all this means that I've no chance of joining hunky Ken from Liverpool in offering my services as a male escort to raise money for Claire House Children's Hospice on the Wirral (Third Sector, 26 January).

The charity concerned admitted Ken's offer posed something of a moral dilemma. How far should you go to get a donation to a good cause?

At my children's school, the parents have hit upon a version of Stars in their Eyes as both a good opportunity to make fools of ourselves and an excellent way of raising money for charity.

My voice is on a par with my hair - okay if you catch it on a good day - so I volunteered. The return call came from a wonderfully exuberant Brazilian dad this week. He was thinking, he confided, about recreating a scene from The Full Monty. I was busy politely declining - my stomach is more smorgasbord than washboard, and that's just the start of my inhibitions - when he delivered what he clearly saw as the killer line: "But it's for charity".

It only took me a second to decide. Some things are above even the call to raise money. I once had an elderly colleague who did a roaring trade in sponsorship for abseiling down the front of a new building our charity was funding.

In the end, though, she made more out of concerned friends sponsoring her not to do it. Such negative sponsorship may have to be my contribution to the Stars in their Eyes spectacular.

At least the experience has helped me to define my personal list of no-nos when it comes to fund-raising activities. It's no to anything illegal (although it is unclear whether Ken is offering the 'full' gigolo service); no to anything recklessly dangerous; and, lastly, no to anything utterly humiliating. The last two tend to be a matter of individual taste. As are hairdos.

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