Society Diary: Dogs wearing bandanas and the Willy Wonka experience

15 Mar 2024 Voices

Civil Society’s comedic columnist summarises the big stories in charity land this week...

A very stylish dog

By Viorel Sima / Adobe

Dearest reader, is there ever a quiet week in charity land?

Diary’s desk has been swamped with work lately as the sector goes about its business and gets annoyed by pretty much everything (as they jolly well should), but nonetheless it can become a challenge to focus on what needs improving in the world. 

You know what doesn’t need improving? Dogs. But if they could be improved, it would likely be with a doggy bandana, which they can be awarded with by being fundraisers for Stand Up to Cancer.  

The programme website asks: What does the Stand Up to Cancer Dog Walking challenge involve? This columnist can hazard a guess. Signing up will ensure your pooch gets sent a free bandana – which technically, could be worn by you instead, but people may get jealous. 

Paul O’Grady left over £500,000 to charity in will

Speaking of dogs, the late national treasure, comedian and drag artist Paul O’Grady left a huge sum of money to them in his will. 

It has been revealed that he left £500,000 to Battersea, the dog and cat charity that featured in his popular show For the Love of Dogs. 

He left over £50,000 to the Salvation Army – a charity that featured in his documentary called the Sally Army and Me – as well as £50,000 each to Wildlife SOS and the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Borneo. 

Famous for his love of the four-legged creatures, O’Grady also committed £125,000 to looking after his four dogs in his will. Needless to say that those pups – including one called Sausage – are set for life because they brought joy to his. 

Glasgow Willy Wonka experience raises thousands for Gaza

If you haven’t heard of the Willy Wonka experience in Glasgow, you must have been living under a rock with poor wi-fi connection, as it is one of the main things the internet has been obsessing over for the last month. 

The House of Illuminati sold tickets for the “immersive” experience at £36 each but customers were met with dodgy-looking props and actors in ill-fitting wigs. Children cried and police were called and Willy Wonka was nowhere to be seen. 

However, children were not blown up into blueberries or drowned in a chocolate river, so honestly they had a much better time than the children in Roald Dahl’s original novel. 

The experience has an upcoming Channel 5 documentary about it, and the sad elf pictured in some of the viral images is now selling cameos of her speaking to the camera for £20. Diary respects the hustle and wonders if this columnist could get in on it. 

This week, the props from the experience were fittingly fetched from a bin to auction for charity, and included three rather sad backdrops which were hung up limply on the walls of the event. 

Despite their shoddy appearance, they raised £2,250 in an eBay auction – which will go to Medical Aid for Palestinians to help provide medical services in Gaza.  

National Trust is famous for its…pizza?

The National Trust is most renowned for its scones, and the arguments that ensue about how to pronounce the snack.  

However, the conservation charity will be permanently serving wood-fired pizzas at its Gibside restaurant in the north east, which will be named the National Crust. Obviously. 

This will initially only be served at weekends and bank holidays. Do not panic: Diary is told that scones will still be available. 

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