by Martin Warrillow
I’ve written a lot in my H&E column over the past couple of years about my fundraising efforts for Different Strokes, the stroke-survivor charity I support. The most prominent of those, of course, was the four-figure sum I raised by taking part in (I hesitate to write ‘running in’) the BH5K at the Naturist Foundation in September 2015.
The good and hardworking people at Different Strokes know about my involvement in naturism and have no problem at all in me raising money for the stroke-survivor cause through it. After all, I have talked often enough in this column about how people with body-image issues find naturism beneficial. And now another chance has come up to raise money for DS through naturism and I am devoting this H&E blog entry – which appears in the April issue of H&E – to it.
Recently, Natasha Porter (who is one of the people behind the London World Naked Bike Ride, a talented photographer, a noted life-model and general all-round good example of what nice people naturists are; check out her work at www.natansky.co.uk) mentioned on one of my social media feeds that she had really enjoyed one of her life-modelling sessions for a local arts group and had become somewhat attached to one painting, in particular. And, having become attached to it, she wanted to make sure it went to a good home – but wasn’t sure how to achieve that.
Unsurprisingly, my active, creative, if slightly knackered, brain sprang into action. I have all my good ideas at 3am, and one night I thought: “Why don’t I buy it from the artist myself, then auction it through my column in H&E, with the proceeds going to Different Strokes? That way, I can ensure it goes to a good home, the artist will get paid for his work and I will have the chance to raise some money for a charity which I believe in very strongly.”
I discussed it with Nat in a series of online conversations, she agreed that it was a good idea and she agreed to talk to the artist, Adrian Henderson. He also liked the plan, Nat put him in touch with me and after a proposal to meet in London had to be aborted, he was kind enough to send me the picture. It is called Flowers in my Garden and it currently adorns the bedroom wall at Warrillow Towers, but I want to stage a fundraising auction through this column, with the picture going to the highest bid. The picture measures 410x500mm including the frame.
I would like bids to be sent to me via the H&E office address (PO Box 545, Hull HU9 9JF) or via email to email@example.com, with all bids to be received by May 1, 2017. I have in mind a minimum sum which I would like to achieve, but I don’t intend to publish a ‘reserve’ figure, as I don’t want anyone to get the impression that the auction has ‘failed’ in any way. Then, editor Sam and I will get our heads together, with the winning bid being announced in the June edition. All the proceeds from the winning bid will go to Different Strokes, a process I will oversee and organise using my contacts with them. I will take no commission from this, my sole intention is to raise money for Different Strokes.
I see this as part of the process I’ve discussed in my Opinion piece on page 9 of the April issue of ‘normalising’ naturism and bringing it into the mainstream. Some clubs are already active in raising their profiles by fundraising for charity and inviting people from those charities to their premises to receive the subsequent cheques. I remember inviting two members of DS to the Naturist Foundation for a presentation following my run. I was definitely a bit nervous at how they would react to being among several hundred naked naturists on a lovely summer’s day, but they absolutely loved it (although they chose not to strip off and I’m not one for saying to nervous first-timers that they absolutely must get nude). They went away with a different, better view of naturists and it was a good experience for everyone.
Such encounters must be the future for naturism. Anything I can do to facilitate that, I will. I hope you will, too.