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Thanks to my lovely fiancé, I just watched a repeat of the BBC documentary on John Bishop and his recent indescribably inspiring effort for Sports Relief UK, which managed to raise more than 3 million pounds for charity. I say thanks to my fiancé as when the actual programme was on, I was sat listening to talks on departmental budgets and case law, followed by a team networking dinner- far from inspiring when you think about the achievements of John and many others, who are using their careers not just to make money, but to make a difference to literally millions. My other half told me about the original broadcast today (which garnered viewership of over 5 million!) and then sat down to watch the repeat, pointing it out to me too. I then caught the beginning bit I still managed to miss (running errands you see- again, not really very inspiring), on the Internet.

I cannot really say anymore than has probably already been said by others about what Bishop has managed to achieve during his “Week of Hell” triathlon, which included cycling, rowing and running from Paris to London. Even if I tried to say much, it would most likely sound quite trite and inadequate, and possibly (God forbid!) patronising. After all, words like- “Well done” or “John Bishop is a hero”, do not really do justice to the sheer scale of the achievement (although both statements are true, as are the other thousands I have since seen in the press and on social networking sites).

I must admit that my initial reaction (after I actually shed tears, watching him cross the finish line, fractured leg and all) was to feel hopelessly inadequate and wonder how one really did something that made such a difference when most of life seems to be taken up with trying to cram work, home, and just “usual” life in to days, weeks, months and even years that are past you before you know it. I then listened to John’s own words, uttered whilst clearly reeling from pain and exhaustion, overwhelmed when told of the total he had raised, and yet still managing to be humble enough to credit all those who voted with their purses and donated the millions raised.

This effectively reminded me of those who made those calls and sent those tweets that made the staggering total collection possible. I feel somewhat reassured that there must be others out there, like me, who cannot help but feel intimidated and think that whatever efforts they make must seem puny in comparison to such Herculean feats. Oh, I do not refer to those amazing achievers amongst us who manage to run marathons at the drop of a hat and can squeeze in training and eventual performance for supreme endurance tests like climbing Everest, despite trying to hold down demanding jobs, raise kids, manage a household and just generally cope with the innumerable tasks that seem to plague daily living for most of us. I am in that category who struggles to make her weekly yoga class and write her blog so please exempt yourself if you belong to the former category. I hugely admire you, but suspect you might find it difficult to relate to the sense of inadequacy I describe!

All I can do is thank John Bishop for being a true hero- not only did he do what he did which will affect so many lives in Africa and here at home too, but he included all of us in his struggle and was generous enough to share the credit, which to be honest, truly only belongs to him. I say that, not because I do not agree that the actual donations made the real success of the mammoth undertaking he underwent, but because unless he had done it and touched our hearts with his struggle, not as many of us would perhaps have felt compelled to part with the money they have. It was obvious, watching John in the programme, to see how much he valued the support from everyone. I was so moved when he constantly acknowledged the supporters turning up at various stages and surely because of his humility and being the genuinely nice human being that he clearly is, a lot more of us felt compelled to think about his cause.

Oh, I know a lot of people are too quick to dismiss efforts by celebrities on the basis that they inspire people because they are famous, but that is too simplistic and in response to that (in my opinion) ridiculous argument- “So what?”! They may command a lot of media and therefore public attention due to their celebrity status but please remember- they make a huge difference, they do not have to use their profile in this way. They could sit there earning money and leading a luxurious life, without putting themselves (for example) through an endurance test that could actually cause them lasting physical damage. I am a lawyer, and I can tell you that not all of us do pro-bono work, and if any of us do, it should not be any less appreciated simply because it involves using our existing skills. A celebrity has access to more publicity but because they use that to raise millions, undergoing immense hardship in the process, that cannot be held against them! Sorry, that last rant was not really planned but just sort of happened!

Anyway, to finally cut short my ramblings, all I wanted to say was, I feel that there is precious little true humility and selflessness visible nowadays and it was therefore amazing to watch John Bishop during his sojourn. He may have had to undergo a “Week of Hell”, but his hell had paved the way for a brighter tomorrow for so many, the least we can do is bow down to him and ask him to, well, simply take a(nother) bow!

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