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Sport Relief

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Sport Relief has established itself as a mass participation event in the national calendar, that inspires the nation to get cycling, swimming, running and taking part in all manner of weird and wonderful challenges to raise money for good causes.

It never ceases to amaze me that every year people always turn out in the thousands to take part in these events (often dressed in strange costumes) just to say they took part and raised money for a really worthwhile charity. It strikes me that all of these charity events whether its Comic Relief, Sports Relief or the Children in Need appeal, defines us a nation. It is part of the national character that when people are asked to go the extra mile to help others they always do. I wonder do other countries take this on such a scale, or is it just us? Even if they do, it seems to me that the WAY we do it is very British (and yes I include Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland in that!)

And so that means that every year I have to find something new to take part in, that challenges and pushes me outside of my comfort zone and has the effect of terrifying me witless.

This year was no different.

Thanks to persuasive talents of one Shirley Pinder from BT, I agreed to abseil down the GPO Tower along with Martin Bayfield, Helen Skelton and a few others and a platoon of Royal Marines headed up by the Big Boss, Ed Davis.

tower

I know... I'm not sure how that happened either. (Note to self; block all future calls from Abseiling Shirley, as she is affectionately known in our house)

The thing is, apparently I agreed to take part months ago, when the reality of what I was letting myself in for, certainly was not a reality. Then two weeks ago I was called for a training day in Manor House and at only 30metres the task looked slightly daunting but manageable, as it was all done in a controlled area with lots of safety ropes and banter from the others.

tower

However, when faced with being out on the platform 31 stories up the GPO tower with a strong wind blowing and the whole of London laid out before me, that's when reality bites. Until then, I never knew I had a thing about heights!

Well thanks to Ed and his fantastic team, I did it and the whole thing can be viewed on you tube... I'm on at 3.03!

If you fancy donating money for my stupidity you can still do so here

And if that wasn't enough... this Friday. 21 March, I am back at the Olympic Pool with my old teammate Clare Balding where we will be commentating on the swimming section of the triathalon competition between Team Seb Coe and Team John Bishop.

Clearly Seb can still run, and anyone who witnessed John Bishop's unbelievable feat last year where he cycled from Paris, rowed the Channel and ran two marathons into London, knows he is capable of great things, but I have never seen either of them in the pool.

So this promises to be a great event, a lot of fun and it will raise money. Its on BBC tonight, so try and take a look.

And then there is one more thing... later on I agreed to race a group of young swimmers as part of the fundraising activity in the pool. This is business as usual for me and normally would not be a big deal. Unfortunately on this occasion, I will be dressed in a bright red Comic Relief onesie!

... As if my dignity hadn't suffered enough.

But its all in a good cause so if any of you reading this can put your hands in your pocket to support the cause every penny will be welcomed and well used.

Please give generously.

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