Now, you’d probably have to have been abroad for several months not to have seen pictures in the media of people getting very wet – but if (like me) you haven’t been taking much notice, you may not know what it is all about. The Ice Bucket Challenge is a cascading awareness campaign where charitable volunteers are encouraged, in escalating numbers, to donate money to the Motor Neurone Disease Association in return for getting soaked. And it works – it is estimated that approximately one in six people have undertaken the challenge and more than 2.5 million videos relating to the challenge have been posted on Facebook.Motor Neurone Disease affects about 5,000 people in the UK, causing the degeneration of nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This means that messages from the brain don’t reach the muscles, restricting voluntary movement and eventually causing the wastage of muscles, extreme weakness and sometimes full paralysis. Not everyone suffers from the same set of symptoms and onset of the disease can take varying amounts of time. To find out more, go to www.mndassociation.org .
In August the Motor Neurone Disease Association received a valuable boost to their fund-raising efforts when the Ice Bucket Challenge stimulated donations worth £2.7 million - roughly thirteen and half times their usual monthly receipts. Other charities have benefited too, including Macmillan Cancer Support who (according to a BBC report) generated Ice Bucket donations of £3 million and Water Aid, who generated £47,000 in just one day.
You might have gathered by now: I know a lot more about the Ice Bucket Challenge than I did a few weeks ago. It didn’t involve drinking any wine at all, although if you visit the Cartmel Racecourse Facebook page, you’ll notice that the first schlop of ice-cold water was delivered from a very nice Louis Roederer ice bucket. For this reason alone, the first person that I have challenged to take part is our contact at the Louis Roederer Champagne House, Guy Cliffe. The next two people are both involved in the production of our favourite local newspaper: Frank Stretton and Paul Turner of The North West Evening Mail.
This week’s selection is Minalisa, who should be backed each-way, at a price of 25/1 or more, for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup this Saturday.