Paper Round

As part of our last email bulletin of 2008, Tamara Hinson takes a sideways glance at some of the more unusual charity stories of this festive season

First up, The Daily Telegraph reports that Sheffield residents have been on the receiving end of an unexpected dose of Christmas cheer after repeated appearances by a ‘caped crusader' at charity events across the city.

The ‘Batman of Sheffield' has so far turned up to lend a hand at a soup kitchen, entertained children at a local hospital and even helped stack shelves at the city's Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice charity shop.

The identity of the mystery helper is unknown - he apparently claims to be a local businessman, despite speaking with an American accent. Rumours that the mystery helper is in fact President Bush trying to make amends remain unsubstantiated.

See for full story

Paper Round doesn't often look across the pond, but this week the Kansas City Star carried a story that was too good to miss. Sheboygan County Humane Society, a Wisconsin animal charity, was called in to assist a dog found frozen to the sidewalk.

The overweight pooch had been turfed out of its home, but its owner had apparently failed to realise that its size meant it would not be able to make much progress down the street. Charity staff used hot water to prise the dog's feet from the pavement and the cuddly canine is now being cared for at a local shelter.

So take heed - too much turkey and that post-lunch Christmas stroll could well end up with Uncle Bob stuck to the pavement.

See Kansas City Star for full story

Back in good old Blighty, and Metro tells the story of how children preparing to board a Variety Club ‘Search for Santa' flight were left traumatised when the clown tasked with entertaining the little darlings was taken aside and strip-searched because his toy handcuffs set off an alarm at Birmingham airport.

‘PC Konk' was eventually allowed to board the plane, but not before his bubble-blowing machine was confiscated. Why a clown needs a pair of handcuffs, we'll never know. But then again, stewardesses have been known to handcuff disruptive passengers to seats, and some might say that anybody willing to spend more than an hour cooped up with a plane full of hyperactive infants should be allowed to employ some pretty heavy-duty restraining techniques.

See for full story

That's it from us in 2008. All at Third Sector wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year - we'll be back on 2 January.

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