Thank you! 9,727 reasons getting naked on TV was well worth it

st runAs my LibDemVoice colleagues have been kind enough to highlight, I fulfilled my pledge* this week to run naked down Whitehall. My daft fault for claiming on live telly that’s what I’d do if the Lib Dems were reduced to 24 MPs. Never bet more than you can afford to lose, folks.

In any case, it was all in a good cause. I wasn’t going to go through with it for the lolz. But when Kelvin McKenzie challenged me on the Daily Politics — and said he’d back up the offer with £5,000 to the charity of my choice — I didn’t have to think twice. (My main regret now is I didn’t dare him to double it: as a professional fundraiser, I should know better than to accept the first offer made…)

I wanted the money to go to a charity working on the current refugee crisis. Having done a little research, I decided on Médecins Sans Frontières, aka Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian medical aid organisation providing medical aid where it is most needed, regardless of race, religion, politics or gender. Not only is it active in Syria, but also of course in Afghanistan — and many, many other parts of the world which don’t grab the headlines.

I did two practical things right away. The first was to go on a diet. The second was to set up a JustGiving page and ask for extra contributions.

JustGiving asks you to set a financial target as extra motivation. I had no idea at what level to pitch it. I decided initially on £1k. When that was hit within two days, I doubled it. A couple of weeks’ later, the total stands at £4,727.32 courtesy 184 individual donations. Add in Kelvin’s £5k, which he handed to me on Wednesday, and a grand total of £9,727.32 has been donated to Médecins Sans Frontières.

I know a number of those who contributed are LibDemVoice readers — a big THANK YOU to all of you who did so. Believe me, it made a difference on a chilly afternoon as I ran all but naked for the fourth time past the Downing Street crowds at the cameraman’s request; and as I waited between shots not quite sure what to do with my hands, while being papped by tourists with their cameras; and loitered at Trafalgar Square after a couple of hours filming (the crew were in fleecy hoodies), waiting for a just one more person to brave a quick vox pop reaction.

So thanks to one and all: it was all for a great cause. And if you haven’t had chance yet, and would like still to make a donation, here’s the link again.

* the spirit if not the letter. True, I wasn’t totally naked. My modesty was protected by my Tight & Stretchy Mens Underwear Bulge Thong (yours for just £4.99 from Amazon). Which I had to buy myself, by the way — I think the BBC producer must have been nervous about claiming that back on expenses.)

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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  • George Kendall 18th Oct '15 - 10:14pm

    “I wanted the money to go to a charity working on the current refugee crisis”
    Good for you.

    Also, the press coverage of your little exploit may be far more valuable to Médecins Sans Frontières than the money you raised directly.

  • Well done Stephen, good cause and a Lib Dem pledge fulfilled! Agree with George, it’s a great time to be promoting MSF.

  • I’m really pleased you went through with this and raised so much money for MSF.

    I wonder if Mike Smithson from Political Betting has mentioned anything about it?

    It seems to me it’s one of the most striking examples of a political bet lost, but somehow, also won.

  • I would.

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