Monday, October 4, 2010

Arrested for Good

I’m delighted to announce that Andrew Jarman, the current Headmaster at my alma mater Lancaster Royal Grammar School, was recently arrested. The authorities came to the school, handcuffed him, and hauled him off to a jail cell.

Why am I so delighted? Let me explain. The “arrest” was part of an inspired fundraiser for the group CancerCare, a UK charity devoted to helping those whose lives have been affected by cancer.

To raise funds for this worthy group, a number of local figures, including Andrew, volunteered to be “arrested.” Once they got to prison, they were allowed to contact friends, family and colleagues who could then donate bail money. The bail money, of course, went to the charity.

The school capitalized on the spectacle to motivate students to get involved with CancerCare. In order for Andrew to be released, the students had to agree to make CancerCare part of the school’s Lent Term charity effort. On top of that, the school held a non-uniform day to help raise even more money for the charity.

The stunt was a success. It significantly raised awareness of CancerCare and the work they do, while also giving Lancaster student a memorable lesson in the importance of charity and self-sacrifice. LRGS raised £5,000 for the cause. Well done!

Meanwhile, the boys at LRGS got to see their headmaster taken in by the authorities (a dream for any grammar school student, I’m sure!).

This was a surprising example how intimacy, mystery, and – in this case -- humanity can be combined to create entertaining initiatives that make the world a better place.