Charity: “I did it and felt feelings and emotions…”

Mini-roundabout, outside Sainsburys. Dronfield.

Local man, Derek Smith (54) has recently completed his most altruistic achievement to date and raised £220 for his favorite charity: Hungry Orphans of Derbyshire. We caught up with Derek to see how this all started, his motivations and how he raised the money.

DD: So, how did it all start? What are your motivations and how did you raise the money?

Derek: I wanted to give something back, but, I realised all-too-early that charity is hard work. I mean, doing things to help other people, at the expense of my personal effort: it’s a little on top.

I decided, you know, why not do something that doesn’t require a whole bunch of effort but kind of looks like it does? Let’s face it, if I had to apply much effort, I wouldn’t have bothered in the first place.

So, I thought I’d find something that I probably would have done anyway and ask people for money to do it. Each year I go to Somerset to buy cured-meats and it’s a long drive, so that was it, I decided: drive the Jag XF to Somerset and back. 415 tough miles, 6 hours, was I up to it? You better believe it.

DD: Somerset and back to buy cured meat, that sounds quite expensive? 

Sure, it may have cost me £100 in fuel, £80 on cured ham and £60 for the Travelodge (the drive was quite long, so I stopped for the night).  The pillows weren’t up to the much and the breakfast was on the lower side of average.

People say to me, Derek, how can you justify spending £240 when you only raised £220 and I tell them, ‘Look, Derbyshire Orphanage, if you don’t want the money… I’ll keep it’ and that usually cuts them short.

DD: Has this changed you as a person? Will you be doing more charity fundraisers?

Initially it was a bit of a vanity project; you know, do some vapid stunt to make money, get an article with a local publication, feel better about myself for living such an empty selfish life or some other Liberal bollocks. This was different though, when I collected the fivers off my friends at the the Golf Club, and took them to the orphanage, I really felt moved. So yeah, when I think about charity I remind myself, ‘I did it and felt feelings and emotions. It’s a good buzz!’

Future fundraising ideas, hmm: Read as many children’s books as I can in an afternoon to raise money for the Children’s Illiteracy Trust. Or ride downhill on a bike for a day for some reason. Or not use spoons for a week to raise money for junkie rehab or something. Like I said, the trick is to do something that seems like a lot more effort than it probably is.

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