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Blog - Richard Downes

Chatting to a (non) Chugger – The 7th Wave


Lifeguards Katie Dawson and Fay Kent

We met Katie Dawson and Fay Kent, Life Guards both, on the beach at Bigbury Bay. Trying to tie us up to a direct debit benefiting the Royal National Lifeguard Institute, (RNLI) Katie asked not to be called a chugger.

The RNLI had a pretty decent offer. £36 for a small beach ball or lunch pack (I think). I demurred. Katie told us the RNLI are involved in 24 rescues a day. Quick calculation here: That’s 1 per hour. 1 potentially saved life. Katie persevered; “we depend on donations”. We told her we were from London. We learned for the first time that most rescues are staged in London. Bodies over the bridges from suicide attempts, drunken hijinks, general tomfoolery. These were our guesses.

Jean wouldn’t sign up for a debit online. Neither would I, but she was now hot to throw a tenner in the pot. No contributions from the government. My mind flipped over to hospices. No support from the NHS apparently.

Saving lives and end of life care apparently doesn’t amount to much these days, in fact social care is still a very poor cousin. Whereas; HS2, a fourth runway, other indulgences and the Brexit Bill cost a whole heap of cool billions but the life of William Conners, the way he is cared for as he runs out of time is worth diddly squat.

If ever charities should demand more taxation, it should be your local hospice or the RNLI. Quality of life, preserving life, saving lives, these things should never be the preserve of largesse. Like so many other things acquired through charity they should be rights.

So, until we achieve rights (Brexit stands to remove more of them) not charity, might I go against the grain in Chatting To A Chugger and direct you to

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