Society Diary: A huge mural is an amazing way to thank volunteers

11 Sep 2020 Voices

The RNLI in New Brighton shows everyone how to really honour a volunteer for 40 years' service

RNLI/New Brighton

Happy Friday readers. With the government lurching between Brexit problems and Covid problems, there's still no sign of Danny Kruger's Big Important Report About Charities, but never mind there has been plenty to keep us all busy. 

Art news 

Diary loves good news, and few things are more wholesome than celebrating the work of amazing volunteers. 

The latest volunteer to get the hero treatment is Mike Jones who, after four decades helping his local RNLI, is now depicted in a 20-foot mural. “It’s very humbling”, Jones told the Guardian. He then veered into slightly awkward territory by admitting it was “embarrassing”, before softening the blow by concluding that “it's nice”.

Reader, you can decide for yourself which is the appropriate response.

All of which set Diary thinking about our own taste in heroes, which admittedly skews a little weirder. We have some ideas for artwork to honour the people who make our hearts flutter with every press release. 

A papier-mâché Vicky Browning, perhaps, with a speech bubble saying “Never More Needed”? Karl Wilding in decoupage, using long-forgotten prog rock album covers? Danny Kruger rendered in pasta shapes and Prit Stick, looking sad about his lost charity review?

These may sound like terrible ideas, oh reader, but that’s what they said to Damien Hirst. Bidding for Diary originals starts at £750m.

“My neighbour’s charity fun run was cancelled. Do I still have to donate?”

It’s been a while since Diary dipped into one of our favourite columns over on the Telegraph, Moral Money. It truly is an insight into the money worries of very normal people. Recent issues include: 

  • “I want air con, but my wife doesn’t. Should I get it anyway?” 
  • “Should I lend my daughter my new Mercedes so she can avoid the bus during Covid-19?”
  • “My hairdresser of 20 years is upping her prices because of Covid, should I go elsewhere?” 

All valid problems worthy of analysis, but the one that Diary wants to focus on in detail is: “My neighbour’s charity fun run was cancelled. Do I still have to donate?”

This Maybe Donor promised £100 to an animal charity that one of their neighbours was doing a sponsored run for, and let’s just say they did so reluctantly: “I tried to fob him off by pledging just £20, but he was very insistent and kept referencing how much the other people on our street had promised.” 

Look, pressuring people to give is obviously very wrong, but Diary would very much like to know what street it is where the average polite donation is £100. 

The Maybe Donor was delighted when the event was cancelled and shocked that the fundraiser is hoping to still collect the cash. But they had a cunning plan: “I made some excuses about not having the money on me and managed to escape his request, but now I’m wondering: do I really need to pay up? He failed on his side of the bargain, why should I now fulfil mine?” 

The advice from Moral Money was to offer a compromise and pay £20. 

Telegraph readers were less generous, with 53% of those polled saying the Maybe Donor should not have to pay up. 

Diary’s take is that if you don’t want to donate to your neighbour’s charity things, then just don’t speak to your neighbours (but also don’t expect them help if your cat gets stuck up a tree).