Monday, May 20, 2024
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My sponsored rubbish-athon


I’M always suspicious of people who get their recreations sponsored under the cover of doing it ‘for charity’.

Much as I love fellow Palace fan Eddie Izzard, his sponsored marathons spook me with nameless dreads. I managed to identify three.

1. He’s stinking rich, but he wants me to put my hand in my pocket;

2. In this arrangement I’m the one making the sacrifice but he expects the kudos;

3. He’s running around Paris on his ‘marathon’ so in effect we are paying for his holiday.

The Royal Marsden Hospital has recently spent a fortune in time and money in rescuing me from bowel, liver and lymph node cancer. Not to mention pyoderma gangrenosum (a skin condition which is more painful than the other three put together. You can see the pix on Instagram @PleaseMindMyFeet).

So, I need to try repay their kindness. Each bout of chemotherapy costs £800 and I’m consumed by guilt. But if I am to ask for donations I want to earn people’s money.

Most sponsored walks along the Thames seem to result in more pollution, with plastic cups, chocolate wrappers and energy drink sachets dumped on the towpath and finding their way into the river. (Good grief, people, you’re only walking from Kingston to Hampton Court. You’re not crossing the Gobi Desert.)

My ‘stunt’ is to spend at least an hour a day picking up rubbish off the street. Clearing public spaces of syringes, broken glass and pooed nappies first. Then I can clear the weeds and the less dangerous litter. And in the place of all this rubbish I am planting wild flowers. They call that guerrilla gardening.

It’s quite edgy and more dangerous than you’d think. I nearly got arrested by the police in Purley because they didn’t like me clearing a pavement. Which is odd, because the mess was forcing pedestrians to walk in the road.

See what you think of this cop logic. ‘What if someone came out of a pub, took those shears off you and hit you over the head with them,’ said the one with hat on. ‘If you stop doing it now,’ said his colleague, ‘we won’t arrest you.’

Ironically, this took place about 200 yards from a shrine to a young boy who’d been stabbed to death in a fight over drug-selling territory. You’d think the police would have higher priorities.

Anyway, I’ve been picking up rubbish and planting flowers for some time now. There are some pictures here on my JustGiving page.

I’m also auctioning off any new equipment that is donated by technology brands. I sold a garden shed for £66 but there is a better prize on the horizon, a camera worth £99 donated by D-Link, which will be going on for a starting price of 99p.

It could be a new trend, where people actually have to earn the charity money they ask you for! The good news is that the donor gets something useful.

Imagine if everyone from a ‘fun run’ concentrated on a few streets and picked up rubbish rather than dropping it. The local property values would increase as the area would look nicer. Maybe we should ask estate agents to sponsor us!

Anyway, keep checking here for new pictures.

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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