Last year saw an Internet fundraising phenomenon called the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge,’ which saw people and celebrities posting movie-clips on social media sites showing themselves having a bucket of icy cold water poured over their heads while fully clothed.
Basically, a friend or nemesis would nominate you to undertake the challenge and you would then have 48 hours to complete it and post the video-clip online, nominating three other friends in the process. While the challenge drew criticism from some, the power of ‘viral’ Internet fundraising cannot be denied, even Opra and Justin Timberlake took the challenge, and it was reported the campaign raised hundreds of millions of pounds for Motor Neuron Disease charities in both the UK and US. A more recent fundraising campaign to go ‘locally viral’ is ‘Bants-in-your-pants,’ in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, which requires the nominee to post a photo of themselves on a social media site, wearing just their underwear! The ‘bants,’ (short for banter), campaign was started by Lina Hodgkins (AKA Mummy Marbella), one of the stars of the new TV show Life on Marbs, and was inspired by Lina’s friend Leanne Baldry who, in her mid-forties, is fighting a very rare form of cancer. I have known both ladies and their families since childhood having all grown up in Buckland.
The ‘bantsinyourpants’ campaign quickly gathered momentum and I was soon being confronted by images of semi-naked friends every time I logged into Facebook. It wasn’t long before my wife was nominated by a friend and, being a good sport, she duly obliged and posted the image online.
Well I thought it all harmless fun but when I next logged in I saw that I too had now been nominated, and not by my wife but one of her friends. I think it was a complete set up!
Now this may seem an uncanny coincidence but the following day I had a booking for some new publicity ‘stills’ with local photographer Diana Goss who doesn’t normally do semi-naked portraiture, and would be expecting me in a suit with perhaps a change into my tuxedo, but she kindly obliged and after the ‘suit shots’ I slipped into a new pair of briefs. To preserve a little decency I held my auctioneers gavel in my left hand, strategically covering my groin, however, suffice to say I received plenty of stick and a few compliments over the image.
That said, the local campaign has raised over £13,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and Leanne’s large circle of friends have since organised sponsored bike rides and a girls lunch aboard Trinity Lightship Restaurant so this figure is set to rise further.