Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'I've sped past my target, dust clouds in my wake'

In The Red
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The Independent Online

I don't know what to say. Well, I do, but I don't know how to say it – or, rather, how to say it enough. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you very much indeed. Since my last panicked appeal, the donations have come flooding in. And now, finally, I've passed my Save the Rhino fundraising target. More than passed it. I've sped past it, clouds of dust in my wake. I've raised over £3,130 – almost a thousand more than I'd originally anticipated. And that's largely down to you.

If it hadn't been for reader donations, I don't know where I'd be. Because, although I've been busily baking cakes, organising jumble sales and flogging the contents of my bookshelves, I genuinely don't think it would have been enough. Those events have been brilliant – useful and tremendously fun (if a little stressful) – but, at the end of the day, they have only raised £100-odd at a time. I would have had to have 20 jumble sales to reach my target. And even I don't have that much bric-a-brac lying around.

So yes, thank you. It's made a tremendous difference. In fact the whole thing has been quite the learning curve: goodness knows I'm no financial whizz. And, as I said all those months ago when I embarked on this fundraising project, saving is not my forte. I hoped then that, when it came to saving for someone (or something) other than myself I might do a better job of the task. Based on the evidence, I'd say I probably have. What's more, I've picked up a few handy tips along the way.

I am, for instance, now an expert on the best places to sell (and buy) second-hand wares. Should I ever find myself scraping the barrel of my overdraft (a prospect that's not, let's face it, unlikely) this new-found expertise could come in rather handy. And I'm well aware of the virtues of keeping a change jar. I emptied out the Rhino-saving tin that's been collecting coppers on my bedside table and there was a full £30 in it. All made up of the 20p and 50p coins that seem to litter my flat, having fallen out of pockets and handbags over the months.

And, of course, I've developed a new-found love of running. The cheapest way of keeping fit – not to mention a cost-efficient means of transport. Trip to the parents? Free. Journey into work? Gratis. All because of the London Marathon. So thank you everyone, for your support. I have one more column before the big day – but after that, well, I'll see you at the finish line.

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