THE BLOG

Something to Think About

10/08/2015 16:44 BST | Updated 10/08/2016 10:59 BST

I had a really interesting day fundraising for my favourite charity Deaflinks last week - but parts of the day left me utterly baffled by people's behaviour and psychology.

I wanted to share these with you now in order to highlight some things I think we could all do with thinking about.

Let me start by saying what a very fruitful day myself and some of the Deaflinks team had. We were at Uttoxeter races for Ladies Day and we met some wonderful people.

The staff at the races and Hoar Cross Hall were beyond brilliant.

The people I'm going to focus on were fortunately in the minority.

So, over the last couple of years I've become increasingly fascinated with us humans, we're a weird bunch, we do weird things and for even weirder reasons.

I notice more and more that our values are somewhat off-kilter.

For example, I've seen a lot of people in my life base their self worth on what job they book or don't book, what car they drive or whether they can afford a house deposit or not.

We value 'stuff' quite highly. Why? Because that 'stuff' apparently matters.

Not only that, we use it as a measure of how successful we are and as a result of that, having more of this 'stuff' often determines how people treat us.

So, at the races - myself, Deaflinks' junior manager Ruth Woodcock, three lovely ladies who are all profoundly deaf and my best friend Lara - who gets rhetorically asked to join in on every fundraiser I do (and she rarely complains about it) headed out with our charity buckets to raise some cash for the wonderful work Deaflinks Staffordshire does to support deaf people and those who are hard of hearing.

For those who don't know when I was 12 my brilliant dad lost his hearing very suddenly and lived the last two years of his life profoundly deaf.

I saw first hand the huge affects that has on a family and the affects it had on my dad.

That experience gave me the desire to learn sign language - and I quickly fell in love with that and the deaf culture in general.

In the deaf community there is exactly that - a community.

It's like nothing I see in the hearing world, it's old fashioned I guess and beautiful. I film in America for a good chunk of the year and have involvement with deaf centres and organisations there which are exactly the same - the community is very much alive.

Anyway, as we set out into the crowds last week it was raining-heavily.

Despite being invited to the event as guests, we'd decided that we were attending for the sole purpose of fundraising and so we didn't comply to the regular ladies day attire.

Instead we were sporting ill-fitted red polo shirts and lanyards that were far too long.

As the glamour arrived in its droves we positioned ourselves by the entrance.

We had leaflets to hand out as well as our trusty collection buckets.

Now anyone who has fundraised like this will appreciate it's pretty intimidating to start off with... but thankfully my ballsy friend Lara started us off by heading straight over to a rather large, dapper looking chap with a tweed suit and asked him if he would, "like a leaflet on our charity?"

His response was both rapid and heartfelt as he loudly and confidently said, "Do I look like a nob?", before walking on.

I then witnessed one of our lovely members, Pauline, who's an extremely well-educated, independent deaf woman, handing a leaflet to a gaggle of slightly orange coloured women.

Their reactions ranged from ignoring Pauline's existence - despite being right in front of them, to laughing at her speech and pulling grossly unattractive 'confused' faces.

So again, because Pauline doesn't have a voice she was instantly dismissed and not valued enough to even take the time to acknowledge her.

What's the rush? What's so important that ignoring someone completely becomes acceptable?

It wasn't just the orange brigade that were guilty, I watched it happen time and time again.

On a human level, what is going on?

I was no exception - mostly ignored, occasionally objectified and frequently spoken to rudely.

So THIS is where it got interesting.

After the first race I was interviewed on the stage. I was talking about the show that I'm currently filming in the U.S, what it's like living in Los Angeles and why I'm fundraising etc.

Then the crazy madness happens - SO MANY of those same people instantly changed their behaviour towards myself and our entire group.

Suddenly those same, rude people started to become very generous and interested in our cause, even asking questions about the work we do.

Because I was no longer just a slightly disheveled girl fundraising for a charity no-one had heard of, people started to take notice of us.

Not only is that an excruciatingly sad refection of our society, the fact that people valued me more, knowing that I'd been on the TV - instead of valuing a person who was standing in the rain raising money for charity, makes me extremely sad.

So I guess the moral of this is to stop valuing that ' stuff' so much!

We need to be a bit kinder and more aware of what is really important.

Let's make a concerted effort to value people for their souls, not the bullshit that doesn't even matter.

If you see someone collecting for a charity today - and you have a bit of change to spare - please give it and maybe show an interest in that individual for the human being they are and the goodness they are doing.

If you've got even more change to spare, I am trekking the Great Wall of China for Deaflinks in October.

If you could spare anything at all, it would be hugely appreciated by both me and all of the people the charity supports.

Donate at www.justgiving.com/Deaflinks or text 'deaf56' followed by any amount to 70070.

Thanks!