OK, so I like a deep bath as much as anyone - but on February 24th 2017, after a crash course in basic SCUBA diving, I will be going one step further by venturing into the 3.4million litre 'shark tank' at Blue Planet Aquarium in Manchester. Instead of my usual rubber ducky for company I will be joining six sand tiger sharks, the largest of which (a female going by the name of Storm) measures over twelve feet in length and weighs in at a fairly gigantic 300 kilos. The tank is also home to a number of other, smaller species of shark as well as various rays and assorted fish.
As someone who was traumatised by Jaws as a child this is going to present something of a psychological challenge...but 'all in a good cause' as the saying goes...!
Specifically this is in support of my friend (well I thought she was my friend...) Ms Cornwall Galaxy 2016 Celena Wolfe who, along with the other Galaxy finalists, is raising money for the Christie Charitable Fund, the nominated charity for this year's UK Galaxy event which takes place between the 9th and 12th of March. Celena has form for forcing me to do downright stupid things as she was single-handedly responsible for making me do a 15,000ft skydive, having never even been in a plane before, back in 2015 which raised exactly £2000 for overseas children's charity The Rainbow Child Foundation. You'd think she might have cut me some slack on this occasion - to be honest, I was hoping that maybe something a bit safer like a jumble sale or a fun run would have been acceptable this time around. Apparently not...
The Christie Charitable Fund itself is, as the name suggests, linked with The Christie Hospital, an NHS hospital coincidentally also in Manchester. The Christie houses the largest cancer centre in Europe and treats 40,000 people from right across the UK every year. It is also home to the largest early clinical trials unit in the world. The Charitable Fund supports this pioneering work and funds the purchase of new medical equipment that cannot be supplied by the NHS. It is also instrumental in ensuring the provision of smaller but no less important cancer support services such as counselling and complementary therapies. While these perhaps sound a little less glamourous than high tech research and futuristic new equipment they are in fact the things that make a huge difference to individual sufferers and their loved ones.
Much more information on The Christie Charitable Fund and the fantastic work it supports can be found at:
and further information on Celena's Galaxy campaign and other Christie-related fund-raising activities is located at:
I've set a target of raising £1000 by the time Galaxy starts on March 9th - yes I'm aiming high, but I have a secret weapon in the form of a very generous offer from my employer Devon Doctors (http://www.devondoctors.co.uk) who have promised to match the amount I raise myself. I'm enormously grateful to them for their support and will do my best to make it as financially painful for them as possible!
Thank you so much for reading. Wish me luck!
Now where's that rubber ducky...
(PS: Great quote from the guy who spends up to seven hours a day in the tank doing the cleaning: 'The times when the sharks can be potentially disruptive to our dives is during the mating season, that's when there's a lot of sexual energy and they can be unpredictable'. Oh boy...that would be just my blooming luck. I accept it would make one hell of a photo, though!