So today a bunch of my “mad” colleagues decided to jump (and in some cases actually swim) in the North Sea. This madness was in aid of a very worthwhile charity – Cancer Research. I use the words “mad” and “madness” only because of the temperature. Both the air and the North Sea were bitterly cold. The air was about 38/39 degrees Fahrenheit and the North Sea had to have been much colder. They also wore so little in the way of clothing that, for some of them anyway, they might as well have been skinny dipping!

I’m mentioning the North Sea dip for several reasons.  One is because I am full of admiration for folks who do these mad things for a good and worthwhile cause. I also admire anyone who doesn’t worry about the cold instantly stopping your heart! But seriously I respect folks who give their time so selflessly for such good causes. And  who enjoy themselves immensely while doing so. I wish I was so noble.

I tried the charity thing last year. Okay admittedly last year for me was my version of the Queen’s  Annus Horribilis. But I will now state publicly that I’m not made of the stern stuff that my colleagues are. I can honestly say I enjoyed very little of my experience. I’m sure that the friends who partook of this momentous event all enjoyed the hell out of it, but not me. When one mate started the sentence, “When we do this next year…” I interjected quickly, “What in the hell makes you think I’m ever doing this s**t again??” “This is like a death march!” What we did was climb Mt Snowdon, in the summer. Summer in Wales equals cold, rain, low lying clouds, practically no visibility and basically freezing your backside off. So I waded up knee deep trenches of running water to almost the top of Snowdon. The less experienced of the climbers (myself and one other) had to turn back when it became too dangerous. I learned a lot about that experience. Mainly that I did not want to repeat it.

I think maybe it’s because I don’t originate from England. I’ll explain. England is a countryfull of charitable people. I don’t mean just the “dig-deep-into-your-pockets-and-donate” kind of folks either. The entire country is full of folks who do outlandish, uncomfortable things to raise money for worthwhile causes. These things can range from the slightly grotesque – taking a bath in cold baked beans, to the admirable – near naked dips in the freezing North Sea. And they all enjoy doing it.

I think we can all look up to the selfless folks who donate their time, surfeit their comfort and raise money for worthwhile causes. Yes charities need money, I try to give whenever I can. But what charities need more is effort, time and individuals who aren’t afraid to give either.

I take my hat off to all the good folks who can continually do these things in aid of a good cause. I’d like to be just like you when I grow up.

Note: If you’d like to see what these heroes for good causes look like check out  the blog of the photographer extraodinaire who took pictures of the event.