The privilege of being famous?

First up, don’t fret – this post on fame is not about me.

There are lots of perks to being famous – most so obvious that they don’t warrant listing here. But other privileges are more subtle and one of the greatest advantages of fame is the ability to help others – and the greater the fame – the greater the impact that the person can have. And as well as helping others, it comes with the bonus of keeping the famous feet on Terra Firma.

So now that my son, Tom is the new Spider-man – his mum and I are excited at the prospect of what he can do.

Tom has long supported the Anthony Nolan Trust – a big nationally known charity and he will continue to do so.

But local to where we live and centred in the hospital where Tom and his three brothers were born is a charity called Momentum.

Very basically, Momentum provide support to families of children suffering with cancer and life limiting diseases. In our hectic lives, we all fixate on matters that really aren’t terribly important in the greater scheme and considering the plight of such kids and their families is a sharp and timely pin to our little bubbles.

Chatting to Momentum shortly before Tom had been cast, we were discussing how incredible it would be if Tom were to land the role and the effect he could have on the children and the charity more generally. We all imagined what affect a ward visit by Spider-man himself might have on the patients. Life-changing, certainly for a little boy in his Spidey pyjamas and dare-I-say-it, but even life-saving in those rare and incredible stories that we sometimes read about?

And this is what I mean by the privilege that comes with fame.

Momentum have recently opened a superhero room at the hospital and no doubt there are hundreds of similar rooms and murals across the UK.

But now Momentum have the actual spider-man as their newest patron and without wishing to sound too worthy – I was so excited to share the news with them, a phone-call to Momentum was one of the first things I did once Tom had been cast.

And finally – just a quick comment on the furore surrounding charities and how they have hounded certain vulnerable people via the telephone – a story that came to light when a pensioner in Bristol took her own life and whether or not such charities had a role in the tragedy?

This morning on the Today programme, a senior lady from Oxfam was defending her organisation – and who would argue that the world is not a better place for having Oxfam in it?

But the lady was reluctant to accept any culpability – the main thrust of their defence being that they sub out their phone campaigns to an independent firm. So it’s them, not us and anyway, the firm they use work within very strict guidelines. Mmm, not too strict clearly; given that the elderly and people with dementia and Alzheimer’s are seen as worthy contributors.

And it’s a thin defense anyway.

What Justin Webb failed to ask the lady and she failed to volunteer is how this third party firm get paid?

Are they paid a flat fee for their services?

I suspect that they are not.

Or are they paid, a percentage of the money that they raise?

And if this is the case – then sharp practice is inevitable and the charities will know this but turn a ‘blind eye’ and if so, then they are wholly complicit and they should hold their hands up immediately.

No matter the great and worthy work that they do – it is totally unacceptable to generate funds from the very people who themselves should be helped by our charities.


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