Waive the Rules?
It's official - I've recruited myself into the Grumpy Old Women brigade!
The credentials of membership are resenting the throttling, irrational
impositions of Health and Safety regulations and the intrusion of 'jobs-worths'
into even well-meaning areas of our lives. Living in Cornwall is no aegis
from being garroted by petty red tape and what has really caused a galvanic
upsurge on my grumpy gauge are the 'suits' in the RNLI.
Within sensible reason, I'm a mellow individual
and don't mind admitting to being out of step with elements of 21st century
life. So the cause of my grumpiness needs clarification because it is
symptomatic of the times we inhabit. Each summer, we have an Open Gardens
Day in our village, where visitors wander around beautiful gardens, delighting
in the sub-tropical, lush species abundant in Cornwall. This is an established
event and the entry fee is donated to a different charity each year,
all of whom, to date, have been easy to deal with, grateful and helpful.
This year, we thought it would be nice to give a donation to the RNLI.
Although our village hasn't had its own lifeboat for thirty years, there
is a long history of loyal support and pride in this service.
We print our own professionally designed
posters which are recognised and familiar locally, but needed eight A3
size. I emailed the Saltash RNLI regional office to ask if they could
print these. They refused to print them as they failed to "adhere
to their strict guidelines". And, I quote, "It is extremely
important that we carefully consider how and where the logo is used.
We therefore need to ISSUE AN AGREEMENT prior to allowing a third party
to use the logo". What was lost in translation, and they wouldn't
accept, is that this wasn't an RNLI fundraising event, it was an Open
Gardens Day and we were at liberty to give money from ticket sales to
any organisation we wanted. We didn't need to use their logo, however
they would only agree to print posters on condition that it was to their
own corporate guidelines in red, white and blue.
I've been a partner in my own graphic
design business long enough to know the importance of protecting brands
and misrepresentation, but we didn't want to use their logo or design
and if any brand was to be protected, it was the one we use for our
Open Gardens Day - all I'd asked for was to have a few posters printed
to save cost, the simple logic being that more money would be given
to the RNLI. The event usually makes around £1,400 for a local charity;
it bemuses and confuses me to realise that the corporate twerps are
arrogant enough to risk forfeiting this kind of donation.
I was sent a form from the administration
assistant for "Application to Fundraise for the RNLI" and was
asked to complete and return at my earliest convenience and if we wished
to raise money in aid of the RNLI, we MUST agree and comply to their
terms and conditions. This document contains questions written in corporate
drivel, related to risk assessment, protecting their brand, details of
other charities we might raise money for. (if that's any of their business!),
blah, blah. Can I assume that every coffee morning and white elephant
stall that raises a few quid has to fill in this ridiculous form? Needless
to say, I didn't return it, but the donation will still be given.
This is not a criticism of the front line
of the RNLI or its local level fundraisers. The outstanding gallantry
and seamanship of lifeboat crews is the reason people put money in a
tin, it is not to fund the form-filling, pen-pushing, out of touch office
staff whose raison d'etre is to hinder goodwill. This charity is funded
entirely by public support and the common sense bigger picture has to
be recognised or they are in peril of drowning in the depths of their
Many years ago I had a summer job pulling
pints in 'The Ship' at Mousehole. There was a stool at the end of the
bar unofficially reserved for a big, self-effacing fisherman in a salt-bleached
cap and smock, his aura of quiet presence filled the pub. His name was
Trevelyan Richards. On a December night in 1981, a coaster ran aground
near Lamorna. It was one of those winter-black nights when nature was
merciless. The Penlee Lifeboat, Solomon Browne, was launched. In a fifty
foot swell, head on to the storm, she was manoeuvered alongside the coaster
and four survivors where taken off; on a final rescue attempt, the radio
went dead and her lights went out. Trevelyan Richards was her coxswain
and never has there been a lifeboat crew of eight braver men who never
came home. I don't think risk assessments and terms
and conditions were given much thought on that night!
Here, at least, are a few pictures from some of the Gardens.
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