When I visited England a few weeks ago in November, it was the weekend that Children in Need was on TV, an entertainment programme dedicated to raising money for disadvantaged children in the UK. It’s a fun filled Friday night that involves a whole host of celebrities and performers singing, dancing and making a fool of themselves for charity. This year we got to see a number from the musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a one-off Doctor Who special and they even had S-Club perform, all 7 of them, re-united for the first time in 11 years! It was amazing to sing along to “Reach for the stars”, bringing back memories of my childhood.
But the best thing is the amount of money they raised. On that night alone it reached £32.6m! That's an incredible amount of money!
That same weekend I visited the Tower of London, whose moat was filled with a sea of 800,000 red ceramic poppies to represent all those who died in the First World War. It was a striking sight, that really made you think about all those who had sacrificed their lives for us. Sadly the poppies have all been removed now but they have been sold for charity, with the funds, which are predicted to be around £15 million according to the British Legion website, being split between various military charities in the UK.
That same week Bob Geldof released Band Aid 30, a song featuring a number of big-name artists like Olly Murs, One Direction and Bono (from U2) and goes along the lines of “Do they know it’s Christmas time at all” (maybe you know it?). These singers made this song for free, meaning all the money from the sales of the song can go the victims of Ebola, not even iTunes is taking a cut.
All this got me thinking, have I seen anything like this whilst living in Italy? Well the answer is no.
In fact, one of my Italian friends was quite surprised by our generosity in the UK, commenting on how many charity shops we have. These shops sell good quality second hand items that people have donated such as clothes and books. I always buy my books from here because they are so much cheaper! So you get a bargain whilst helping out a charity; everyone wins!
Whether this Is just a British phenomenon I’m not sure, but I certainly didn’t realize that this was such an important part of British culture. From its presence in everyday life such as charity shops, to special events like Children in need, the whole country gets involved!
Are there any big charity events in your country?