Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday 30 December 2013

Toast of the week - a Herculean task

In the previous post, I mentioned a man dressed as Santa Claus on behalf of a Canvey Island charity, whose sleigh was undeservedly run out of town at the behest of some over-zealous citizens (JuliaM has the story too).

He is, in fact, the chairman and founder of the charity 'The Friends of Concord Beach', an organisation formed with the laudable aims of maintaining the salt-water pool there and promoting 'good citizenship, civic responsibility and good habits' in those visiting the area and using the facilities.

The group are also busy arranging for sponsored benches along the front and a pool-side shower, together with murals to cover unsightly graffiti and some very polite notices:

But it doesn't stop there; these valiant souls have a far more challenging objective in their sights:
To promote the education of those who visit the beach in sea water and beach safety as it applies to the tidal estuary of the River Thames.
One has to admire their ambition; as a trawl through the Tavern archives makes abundantly clear, Britain's coastline is the destination of choice for an alarming number of Darwin Award hopefuls every year. In fact, an appropriately seasonal example was reported this week:
Two men who were in a toy inflatable boat and wearing penguin and Santa costumes have been taken to a Cornish harbour by the RNLI after they were seen drifting out to sea.
These intrepid mariners set out to paddle across Mount's Bay from Marazion to Penzance, a distance of about 4km, in voluminous fancy dress and without the benefit of life-jackets or a seaworthy craft; what a good thing we've been having such calm weather recently!

If the Friends of Concord Beach seriously intend to tackle the Augean stables of public ignorance of even the basics of beach safety, they certainly have their work cut out, which is why we are raising a glass to them and their endeavours.

Friends of Concord Beach, your very good health!


  1. This one I'll need to come back to.

  2. "These intrepid mariners set out to paddle across Mount's Bay from Marazion to Penzance"

    I'm sure there is a point where "stupid" morphs into "weirdly stupid".

    Risk-taking for the sake of it perhaps? Not enough risk in the modern world? If so, then maybe we'll see more of it.

  3. AKH, they claimed to be 'raising funds for charity'; thanks to Comic Relief etc, fund-raising has become inextricably linked with pointlessly stupid or risky activities.

    A particularly gruesome example occurred in Blackburn last week:

    A man suffered serious head and chest injuries when he jumped off a canal bridge for charity but missed the water.

    Witnesses said [...] he slipped as he climbed over a barrier and hit the tow path instead.

    They said the 25-year-old had decided to jump off the 20ft-high bridge to raise money for a charity which helped his ill baby as he drank in the Navigation Inn, in Mill Hill.

    Police said Mr Elliott was reportedly ‘drunk’ at the time.

    It sounds as if the man needs more than physical medical treatment and one can only feel sympathy for the mother of the sick child, faced with this new burden; welcome to fund-raising, 21st-century-style!


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