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The phrase ‘do-gooder’ has taken on a rather pejorative meaning of late, often used in the same sneering way that people refer to ‘so-called experts’.

When you think about it, that’s ridiculous. Admittedly, ‘do-gooder’ is often used by those complaining about a perception of interfering, perhaps as an unwelcome extension of the nanny state, but it’s a sad day when the aim of somehow improving the lot of others can be used as stick with which to beat someone.

As an example, take a look through today’s paper.

One can become blasé about fundraising events, as there are so many held every week of the year, but sometimes it’s worth thinking about them a little more deeply.

Today we report on the people who took the time – and in some cases the considerable effort – to dress up in Robin Williams costumes in Southsea to raise money for the Samaritans.

We also carry a report from Haying Island where hundreds – yes, hundreds – came out to raise cash for a diabetes research charity and support a five-year-old with the condition. There was the memory walk in Southsea that supported the Alzheimer’s Society, and of course the latest fundraiser by Andy’s Army that aims to get 24-year-old Andy Prowting to America for potentially life-saving cancer surgery.

Every single person at every one of these events has helped in their own way to assist each cause to reach its target.

There are dozens of people who have given up their own time for the sake of others, out of altruism because they want – and feel they ought – to help.

And this is just one weekend out of 52 in the year.

So let’s hear it for the volunteers, the fundraisers, the participants and the good-hearted.

Let’s never forget that a tremendous amount can be achieved with community spirit – as Faye Wheller, mum of five-year-old Morgan from Hayling, says: ‘There are people who I have never met or seen before but have come along because they want to support it.’

So let’s reclaim the term do-gooder. It should be a badge of honour.

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