Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'I've got lots of hurdles to get over before I can do the marathon'

In The Red

Well I'm back at work – but other than that, not much has changed. My ever-lasting cold has morphed into some kind of throat infection, for which I'm now on antibiotics. As a result, I still haven't started training for the marathon, the thought of which is beginning to absorb my entire consciousness. More to the point: I haven't started fund-raising, a fact which is giving me increasing cause for concern. As regular readers of this column will be only too aware, making money (and saving it) is not exactly my strong point.

So far, I've managed to assemble a tin (well, a washed-out jam jar) and some loose change (mainly coppers)... and already I'm running out of ideas. Hopefully, I'll get hold of some official fund-raising tins – you know, those ones you get at the corner shop to put your loose change in – which can be distributed tactically around my neighbourhood. Beyond that, everything seems rather problematic.

I probably can count on some of my friends to donate (though their financial situations, it has to be said, are rarely much better than mine). And, of course, my colleagues. Possibly. And maybe some of my family. Which might get me, oooh, a quarter of the way towards my fund-raising target (£2,500 since you ask. Yes, I know it's a lot. But it's for the rhinos! And they need our help!).

In the back of my mind somewhere lurks a dim ambition of cake sales and second-hand junk stalls – but faced with the reality of actually organising such things, I don't know where to begin.

Where could I possibly hold a cake sale? Outside my flat? In my bedroom? In the office? I know people sell food at Brick Lane Market, just a few minutes away from my flat, but I don't have a clue what they had to go through in order to do so.

Is it even legal to charge people for food without some kind of certificate promising that it isn't poisoned (it won't be; well, not deliberately anyway)? I've thought about having all my friends over for dinner and charging them at the end – but that seems just a little mean.

And, unlike those runners who live outside London and appear to be arranging fund-raisers at their "local", I don't have a neighbourhood meeting point. There's no community where I live, just a Costcutter. Of course, I have had one donation. From my Mum. But if anyone has any ideas on how I can solicit some more, do get in touch. Or, if you're feeling really enthusiastic, help out. Donations can be made at

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