The trouble with charity... and honours

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

David Beckham’s charity efforts put me to shame – in fact most people’s do.

Unlike David, who let’s face it is the ultimate chugger – I don’t give of my time to help others and if I’m honest I rarely put my hand in my pocket and drop coins in a tin. And if I do, it’s usually because I’ve been embarrassed into it.

I’m not mean and my heart is not made of stone so why do I have such a problem?

It is the frightening randomness of charity that unsettles me. Who says children with that terrible condition, are more deserving than children with that other terrible disease?

The most successful charities are often the ones that offer the best photo-opportunity and/or possess the most well-oiled fund-raising machine. And that can’t be right.

It’s not that I think the recipients of charity are not worthy of it – far from it.

I just believe that in a mature, sophisticated society like ours people who need help shouldn’t be dependent on the kindness of strangers.

Instead I think we should all pay more taxes. I realise I’d never get elected and I don’t think my old mucker Becks would agree judging by what I’ve been reading has been alleged about his tax affairs.

But that extra revenue could then be used to help people who need it.

Becks and other celebrities wouldn’t have to work so hard encouraging us all to cough up on an ad hoc basis.

There is one huge flaw in my plan – and that is it would undermine those fantastic people who man cake stalls in draughty halls, cycle from here to far away, and shave their heads.

Amazingly, most of them don’t do it because they want rewarding they do it because they are good people.

In Peterborough we have many fantastic small charities run by people who make a difference.

Michelle King and Little Miracles, Steve Thorpe and Sam Downing at the Free Kicks Foundation, John and Rosie Sandall’s Chernobyl charity to name just three fantastic organisations.

I am genuinely in awe of these people and the work they do.

Like Becks, I’m not a fan of our honours system (although I think we may have different reasons) but if anyone deserves a gong it’s people like Michelle, Steve, Sam, Rosie and John.

I’m not forgetting Becks – he should be given the Freedom of Bridge Street (freeman are allowed to ride a bike down the street and sit on a blanket with their dog) and be the king of the chuggers.

No shame in that.

Give way to God

There may have been a few eyebrows raised when it was revealed that the latest model in the BMW 5 series is to be unveiled in the nave of Peterborough Cathderal today.

But I think it’s a great idea – BMW drivers need all the help they can get if they’re going to make it to the kingdom of heaven.

The fast show

Simon Anthony from Woodston is a lucky boy to have escaped a break at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Except he’s not a boy and at 57 years of age he’s a ‘mature’ man.

Which makes it all the more difficult to excuse his ludicrous behaviour which saw him riding his bike (it was a BMW by the way) at speeds up to 160mph on the A47 at Thorney.

Time to act your age and not your shoe size, Mr Anthony.

Trotters out

The PT joined Peterborough city councilllors and officers in a late night tour of the city centre in a bid to get to grips with the homelessness problem. As the clock ticked past 11 pm they adjourned to the Town Hall for hot drinks and sandwiches.

Surely no one needs a sandwich at that late hour... except perhaps a homeless person.

The Daily Wail

It’s not often an opinion piece in the Daily Mail makes me chuckle, particularly when it’s about President T****. But this one did. It read: The Mail is no great admirer of Trump. But to all his hysterical critics we say: Oh do calm down!

Yes, this is the same Daily Mail well known for its cool and considered approach to people it disagrees with. Talk about pot and kettle!

Bridge the gap

There can’t be many pedestrianised streets with a busy dual carriageway cutting through them but that’s exactly what you have on Bridge Street/Bourges Boulevard. The only surprise about the recent spate of accidents is that it doesn’t happen more often.

A footbridge would be an expensive option. It would also be the right one.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Friends with older children have reassured me that when my kids are a bit older all my technology woes will be at an end.

For someone who still thinks a phone, whether mobile or not, should be for the sole purpose of making phone calls, that’s a comforting thought.

I don’t think I’ll have to wait too long as two-year-old Toddlernator the Terrible already knows his way around the family iPad.

He sent me into a major panic when he managed to delete the Sky Sports app. I think he did it accidentally, but I still used it as an excuse to ban him from watching Thomas the Tank Engine on the iPad. It didn’t bother him, he just put one of his Thomas DVDs on.

On this one, he’s definitely not a chip off the old block as me and technology have never got on particularly well.

I blame it on my first car, a Vauxhall Viva, that I think was permanently annoyed that Stephen King hadn’t written a horror novel about her.

Almost the final straw came when I was setting up my first generation iPod and somehow selected Chinese as the language.

It took me days to sort that out but a tec-savvy teen could have sorted it in seconds.