I would like to inform all my wonderful sponsors and followers that from the 2nd March 2018 all monies donated to the challenge will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee rather than the current 5 sponsored charities. So this post informs you of my intent to change my supported charities from the current 5 to one single charity, as given at the end of my reasoning below, and I implore you to please continue to sponsor me for as much or as little as you can, in order to help me to improve the lives and life chances of the worlds most disadvantaged people. To continue to sponsor me requires no action whatsoever as I explain below.

With some years to go before being discharged from the wonderful Oncology and Neurology care that I have been receiving, it is looking increasingly likely that I have beaten the beast of a brain tumour. So how can I ask people to sponsor me to beat a beast that it is entirely possible that I have beaten? I can’t. However there is a new beast to beat in the form of my neurological disorder triggered by the damage to the brain left by the tumour, the treatment, and each and every epileptic seizure. I can therefore ask people to sponsor me to take on activities designed to help me retrain my brain in order to strengthen my cognitive and motor function and reduce the impacts of the neurological disorders. I can also ask people to sponsor me to try to improve the lives and life chances of as many people as possible through the sharing of my story and experience in my fight against the tumour, in order to inspire and encourage people to make those small changes in our lifestyles we can all make in order to prevent disease from ever taking hold.

But I have learned many lessons on my journey with the challenge which leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. I am a huge fan of all 5 charities I chose to sponsor and my hope at the start of the challenge was that I could encourage them all to work together to form a team and bring their incredible social and traditional media capabilities to the fore in order to maximise the exposure and therefore fundraising potential of the challenge. In my chemotherapy fog as I finalised the planning for the challenge, I dreamt of marching bands and dancing girls, of fireworks and ticker tape parades, of media interviews and talk show slots on the way to raising millions of pounds for these 5 wonderful charities but it was a naive hope. All 5 charities have completely different charitable aims so aren’t natural bedfellows and are bound by rules which stipulate that charitable funds could only be spent on fundraising activity that was solely for their gain. So there was no great media campaign, no ticker tape parade and certainly no launch and no media interviews or talk show slots. Nothing. I just got up one morning, had breakfast, took the children to school and went for a walk in Bannockburn, followed by walk after walk after walk, telling anybody I met about the challenge while handing them a flier while telling my story on Facebook and the website, raising money person by person. In many ways it was a rip roaring success. Over 4,000 miles walked, fliers handed out and people met, helping me to raise over £15,000 for the 5 charities, and helping me to beat my beast of a brain tumour and even find a wife who could love and support me despite my lack of wealth, health or earning potential. I even had a media interview with the wonderful Juliet McCracken for the Bridge magazine for the parish of Kilmadock but sadly it went no further. But despite its successes, it is time to take the challenge forward into new pastures.

But as I take the challenge forward there have to be some changes. Firstly I want to change the intent of the challenge. Now that I have beaten my beast, through the development, after many mistakes, of a balanced daily lifestyle in reinforcement to the wonders of modern medicine, I wish to share my lifestyle with you and challenge as many people as possible to beat their own beast of disease, lurking just around the corner, by preventing it from ever happening in the first place (which is so much better than cure!) through the adoption of my balanced daily lifestyle by as many people as possible. But I would like to try and attract some media exposure and fundraise too. I have been informed by a number of media organisations that they could not carry my story as I was fundraising for different charities to the ones that they supported. So the natural conclusion is that in order to have as great an impact as possible with this new phase of the challenge I need to reduce my charity to one and select one with as broad an appeal as possible.

I have selected the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) because they manage to do, in the time of crisis, what I failed to do, in coordinating the emergency response of 13 leading UK aid charities and funding their activity in direct support of the relief of suffering of people caught up in disaster. Since their launch in 1963 they have run 70 appeals raising £1.5 billion and saving millions of people. So they are truly worthy and working with Action Aid, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD (Catholic Aid Agency for England and Wales), Care international, Christian Aid, Concern, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Plan International UK, Save The Children, Tearfund and World Vision. They are truly representative of the UK. They are a single charity and are already well-supported by the media, in both broadcast and printed media, so will I hope attract media attention to maximise my reach and fundraising success rather than switch off any media interest.

They are clearly a worthy charity so my hope is that you will continue to sponsor me with all monies raised going to the DEC from the 2nd March 2018 onwards. If you wish to continue sponsoring me there is no need to change anything as all monies donated continue to go into the challenge bank account held and managed by Kingdom Bank and will be forwarded to the DEC by the challenge accountants, Webb and Wallace in Doune, on the first appeal launched after the 2nd March 2018, with not a single penny being lost. If like me, the DEC appeal often comes at the worst possible moment for you financially, it makes perfect sense to set up a monthly standing order to the Beat the Beast Challenge with the standing order form to be found under the Sponsor Archie button on the website. While the sponsorship money accrues in the bank account Kingdom Bank pay interest which also goes directly to the charity, so the more I can raise and hold onto until the next appeal, the more additional money I can raise in interest, and when the appeal comes you can rest assured that every single penny that you have already donated will be winging its way as quickly as possible to the DEC without you needing to take any further action. Please give 10 minutes of your time to set up a standing order, for as much or as little as you can afford, to help save the most disadvantaged of the world at the time of their greatest need.

Thank you

Yours aye