Thursday, 18 April 2019

Worm charming anyone?

NOW we here at Carlisle Mencap are always grateful to people who raise money for us by doing sponsored walks, abseiling down Carlisle Civic Centre, sponsored skydives, the London Marathon etc. But have you ever thought about a sponsored worm charm, auction of kisses, or wearing the same dress for a year?

As long as it is in the best possible taste, we don't mind how you go about raising funds for the vital work that our charity does. And by the way, those bizarre ideas in the opening paragraph have actually taken place.

Before we have a bit of Easter holiday fun by looking back at some of the most crazy fundraising stunts ever to take place for a good cause, I just want to plug the fact that we still have FOUR out of six places available for the Great North Run in September.

So fancy taking part in the world's greatest half marathon? Then we would love to hear from you! Taking place on Sunday, September 8, in Newcastle upon Tyne, the Great North Run is a spectacular event - and Carlisle Mencap has been lucky enough to bag six places. Four of these are still up for grabs, so if you fancy pitting your running skills against thousands of others including some of the world's top runners, then we'd love to hear from you.

We pay your £80 entry fee/package but runners most raise a minimum of £300 in sponsorship. So why not give it a go? Get in touch with me, Phil Taylor, on 01228 674393 or email me at

Anyway, back to the worm charming...actually, I'll come to that later. Firstly, same dress for a year. That was started back in 2009 by Sheena Mathekin who raised hundreds of thousands of pounds by wearing the same dress for a year. The money went to the Akanksha Foundation that provides education facilities in rural India. She then started the Uniform Project which involves women wearing the same item of clothing for 365 days. 

Charlize Theron hit the headlines when she 'raffled' a 20-second kiss and promptly raised $140,000 for the OneXOne charity that helps improve the lives of children around the globe.

As this is a family-friendly blog, we will mention but will quickly pass on from naked cycling and lap dancing for the needy - again, these HAVE been done in the name of a good cause! - as we finally come to worm charming.

According to the Gone For Good 10 Crazy Things People Do For Charity web page, in a sponsored worm charming event, a piece of land is divided into equal-sized plots or squares. The plots are sold to contestants who are then challenged to 'charm' as many worms as possible to the surface in 30 minutes.

Singing, jumping and 'banging on a fork' (!) are just some of the ways that people have tried to charm the worms - which are extremely sensitive to sound (well wouldn't we all be with that commotion carrying on just centimetres above our heads!) and rise to the surface when stimulated by noise and movement.

The contestant who charms the most worms wins, and amazingly, the record stands at 567 worms! And did you know that the village of Willaston in Cheshire hosts the yearly World Worm Charming Championships which attracts competitors from all over the planet?  Surprised Sky hasn't bought the rights!  I wonder what the collective noun is for a group of worm charmers? A 'Wriggle', perhaps, or maybe a 'Squirm of Worm Charmers' - I like that one...

So there we have it. Feeling inspired now are we? If you've any weird and wacky ways or ideas of raising money for Carlisle Mencap, please do let me know. Or if you want to raise cash in more conventional ways - we'd still love to hear from you!

Give it some thought and while you do have a fabulous Easter!

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