THE WAY I SEE IT #27 : By Darren Murphy

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CHARITIES and fund-raising are a vitally important part of modern life. Many needy people around the world depend on the work of charities to improve their living standards. Whether it is the provision of food, clean drinking water, medicine, clothing, education, the list is endless. And without the tireless work of paid and voluntary fund-raisers, the lives of millions of people would suffer drastically. Many charities depend solely on funds raised by us, or voluntary contributions. Not everyone cares, though, and not everyone can afford to donate money. But don’t worry if you fall into the latter category, it doesn’t make you a bad person.

There have been a number of recent good deeds and fund-raisers, which I believe deserve a special mention. The first story, which really warmed my heart, was about the Hawick pensioner who had taken it upon himself to organise the dispatch of basic medicines to Syria, a country torn apart by a brutal civil war. Now there may be a number of reasons why this man, Peter Dinan, a 66-year-old ME sufferer, did this. But my guess is he felt he was in a position to help and I find that extremely honourable. Okay, so a batch of medicine isn’t going to bring an end to what has become a bloody conflict, but it might just save a person’s life.

The Hawick News’ very own reporter Gavin Gibbon has committed to a huge act of selflessness. He has been inspired to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust because his niece suffers from the disease which, as yet, has no cure. Gavin has taken on the mammoth task of completing 12 marathons in 12 months. And anyone who has run one marathon will know just how hard this challenge will be. To attempt to run 12 in 12 months is quite outstanding and is testament to how committed Gavin is in raising money for this charity. I found it even more incredible on realising the first marathon he was to compete in was cancelled due to the snow, so, undeterred, he completed the 26.2 miles on a treadmill at a local gym!

Two other local men, Ryan Stewart and Greg Dalgleish, are running the London marathon this year in aid of Children with Cancer UK. They have also arranged a night of entertainment in the hope of raising more funds. Again this is a really generous effort and Ryan and Greg deserve great credit for their actions. Get behind them, folks, they deserve your support and are doing our town proud!

Hawick seems to have an abundance of people willing to do their bit, and there’s a good few local JustGiving pages on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter. I myself have committed to raising money for the Willow Foundation later this year. Helping others less fortunate is something that has become more and more important to me in the last few years. I’m not talking about providing life-changing opportunities, just simple things, such as buying The Big Issue, paying for a homeless person’s portion of chips, and sacrificing a Christmas present by asking my partner to give the money to charity instead.

What I’ve often wondered, though, is if people do these things because it makes them feel good, for self-gratification? I must confess it makes me feel good knowing I’ve helped someone a little or made someone’s day slightly more bearable. And I’m sure other people think the same way when they have been kind and generous to those in need. But what I also firmly believe is that the latter feelings are just a bonus, as we do these things because we can and because we feel it’s the right thing to do.