Very quietly, very gently, this has been getting on my tits for a very long time and I think I’m not alone, in fact I’m sure I’m not alone, but so far I’ve met a lot of people who are in my situation but almost no one brave enough to talk about it.
So look, here it is: I really don’t like sponsoring anyone to do anything that I consider to be fun and pretending it has anything much to do with raising money for charity. I don’t even like being asked. If someone wants to raise money for charity, they can come round with a collection cup. If someone wants me to subsidise their ascent of K2, they can come round with a very good reason why I should pay for them to go instead of them paying for me, because that actually sounds like a fine way to spend a month or so of my time. Nor will I subsidisesponsor anyone for any of the following:
- Walking, running, cycling, swimming etc. Because I like walking, cycling and swimming. Unless you’re going to be tied to an angry tree or doused in honey by random spectators and then attacked by bees or chased by tigers. OK, fine, fine, if it’s just walking round a field for some local good cause, but no, definitely not if the proposed route happens be the Silk Road or the Milford Track or the length of the Great Wall of China. No no no no. Indeed…
- Going anywhere abroad for almost any reason whatsoever.
- Climbing any sort of mountain for any reason unless it’s in the Himalayas and I can sponsor you by how many hours you wear a yeti costume.
- Jumping out a plane with a perfectly good working parachute unless I can sponsor you according to the number of bones you break .
- Pub crawls. I mean, really? Why do people even think that works?
I’m a small man, sometimes a petty one, and if I’m going to give money to charity only to have some of it siphoned off to subsidise someone’s fun, I need to see a reason. Pain and humiliation are a good start. I might sponsorsubsidise a friend to take a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they can’t afford any other way. That’s what friends do, but let’s not pretend it’s for some good cause beyond that friendship.
I will, however, consider sponsoring people to eat marmite because marmite is so utterly disgusting.
Just ask for money for what it’s really for.
 Unless it’s to the US and you’re being sponsored by how many hours you can be held by immigration because of what you wrote on your immigration form and yet still get allowed in.
 Your own bones, Smithy. You know who you are.