What is happening to Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the charity leaders outfit Acevo? Invited to this year's Third Sector Awards, he replied: "I would so love to, but I'm afraid I'm at Thimphu Tsechu in Bhutan on that date – difficult to fly back and interrupt the meditation. I shall be putting my mind in the state where the Daily Mail and a range of politicians do not exist." Thimphu Tsechu, grandest of the festivals in honour of the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, consists of sacred dances and rituals in elaborate masks and costumes.
And what, furthermore, is happening to the charities minister Rob Wilson? He's not only growing a beard, but also allowing himself to be photographed in compromising situations. At an event to launch Social Saturday, he was snapped on a skateboard at a park in the East End run by GLL, a social enterprise that runs multiple UK leisure facilities. It is not clear whether he jumped any flat bars, ollied up any Euro-gaps, or just remained stationary; but he was definitely down with da kids. Social Saturday is slated for 10 October to big up the Buy Social campaign by Social Enterprise UK.
The lecture at the Charity Commission's annual meeting was by Frank Field MP, whom old timers will remember as director of the Child Poverty Action Group in the 1970s. He told the meeting how he took delivery of a cheque from a grant fund set up by the Heath government to help charities campaign – and then immediately rang the minister concerned, Douglas (now Lord) Hurd, to thank him and say he would now issue a press release attacking government policy, "just to show that we would bite the hand that fed us. Douglas laughed and replied that he hoped we would do just that." Those were the days, eh?
The corny but canny prize goes to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, which announced an "All Blacks September surge" at its cattery. Superstition means black cats are less popular than gingers or tabbies, and 75 per cent of the inhabitants of the charity's cattery are invisible on a dark night. Battersea's Michelle Bevan says: "Simba, Mog, Lucky and the rest of our All Blacks team are bursting with personality... if any of our rescue moggies have you dancing the haka and you'd like to pick them for your winning team..." and so on. PS the Rugby World Cup is taking place in England and Wales at the moment.