Mary Killen Mary Killen

Dear Mary | 22 August 2009

Your problems solved

Q. I am in the middle of a second gap year some 33 years after the first (which was marred by menial work). The ‘Dear Mary’ item (8 August) about Justgiving charity requests prompted some thoughts since I have just been on the soliciting rather than receiving end of a fundraising drive. I fully share the exasperation of your correspondent who wants to know how to deal with a stream of sponsorship requests, but he should learn to distinguish between requests for funds which go directly to the nominated charity and those cheekily diverted to finance the cash-strapped adolescent gap year. My own was linked to a six-week Pyrenean walk from the Basque Atlantic to the Catalan Mediterranean coast. So far the walk has raised about £7,000 for Merlin, a medical relief charity. In any case may I reassure your correspondent that while we ‘solicitors’ are hugely grateful to those who cough up, we do not bear grudges towards those who choose not to. About 75 per cent do not, if my experience is typical. In due course there will be a reception for all my sponsors at which free drinks (possibly exceeding the value of the more modest individual contributions) will accompany a slide show of the mountain odyssey.

J.B., by email

A. Thank you for this statistic which will help non-contributors to feel less guilty. However a trawl through your Justgiving site ( throws up distinguished names among your sponsors and the thought of the reception may tempt more names to contribute. What better reward than to see a diaspora of old friends reassembling to commend worthwhile effort? In your case you even met the costs of the 700-kilometre expedition yourself. Other fundraisers take note.

Q. I was enjoying relaxing in an expensive hotel last February when a pretty 30-year-old on the next-door sun lounger started cutting her toenails.

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