No sign of a recession or compassion fatigue, as celebrities and public unite behind Sport Relief to raise £30million

March 20, 2010

Recession? What recession? If nothing else, last night’s  Sport Relief on BBC1 proved conclusively that “compassion fatigue” is not an expression that exists in either the English language or British culture.

Time and time again, the British dig deep into their pockets to support a whole host of annual fundraising events, not least “Children Sport Aidin Need”. In addition whenever a random disaster occurs across the globe, whether it be a tsunami or an earthquake, the media, celebrities and the public are normally ahead of the Government in coming to the plight of the victims. There seems to be no limit to the British public’s compassion or charity coffers!!

Sports Relief epitomised everything that is positive and good about British Society – the self deprecation and good will of the sports fraternity was epitomised by James Cordern’s mocking of them in the excellent “Sports Personality of the Year” sketch. Equally we saw an array of sports men and women, popstars and comedians roll up their sleeves and take field trips to areas of great hardship, deprivation and suffering in Africa and India. The shock and tears of Emma Bunton and Chris Moyles were genuine and tangible, as they witnessed toddlers sleeping on the streets on makeshift mattresses and dieing needlessly of malaria.

The roll call of celebrities prepared to get thir hands dirty on field trips was impressive – in addition to Chris Moyles and Emma Bunton, the viewer followed the educational exploits of David Walliams, Alan Shearer, Russell Brand, Jimmy Carr and Gary Barlow.

Many a celebrity did his or her bit in the studio or in filmed activities. In particular,  Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson, Peter Jones and Duncan Ballantyne were to be admired for going outside their macho comfort zones, in the kitchen and on the dancefloor. However the greatest repect had to be reserved for, and accorded to Christine Bleakley and Eddie Izzard – the former water skiing across the icy, inhospitable waters of the English Channel and the latter in an act of masochistic madness, completing 43 marathons in 51 days!!  It would be invidious to single out one celebrity, but Eddie Izzard’s achievement was truly awe-inspiring and somehow encapsulated the fighting spirit of the British, particularly when fighting for a good cause.

When it comes to charity and compassion, the British public, institutions, media and celebrities always unite and show the rest of the world how it should be done. And maybe this mentality and philosophy is the greatest legacy of having had an Empire and instinctively knowing that with privilege, comes an altruistic responsibility.

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