Editor Matt with fearless reader Sally
Monday, 30 November -0001

How I became The Lady’s Commando

Two years ago, reader Sally Munn joined Matt Warren in a Royal Marines charity abseil. Here, she reflects on how she raised a fortune

Written by Sally Munn
Two years ago, with my heart in my mouth, I stepped off a platform high above the concourse of London’s beautiful St Pancras International train station and left my life in the hands of the Royal Marines.

It was all The Lady’s fault – I had won the magazine’s Take The Leap competition and had pledged to join the editor, Matt Warren, in a charity abseil in aid of the Commando Spirit Appeal for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, an organisation that supports Royal Marines and their families.

Even scarier than being suspended more than 100 feet in the air, however, was the fact that I had pledged to raise thousands of pounds.

Well, I am happy to report than I have now exceeded £10,000 – and I couldn’t be more proud.

I will say straight away that I could not have achieved it without the generosity of friends and relatives who offered their time and expertise and who made it all possible with their enthusiasm and willingness to come with me on an extraordinary journey. Many offered to hold small, personal events themselves: Loraine, making cakes and selling them to work colleagues; Geoff and his wife Rosemary holding a Taking Advantage of Your Generosity lunch for relatives and friends where guests had the pleasure of paying for their meals; Shelagh’s Keep The Spirit Going afternoon tea where mountains of homemade cakes were consumed; Bernadette (whose son is presently serving in the Forces) held two fundraising lunches.

Others simply never said ‘no’ when I needed all hands to the pump with various events, especially the Tea and Strictly spectacular, which I staged in the ballroom of Pinewood Studios. On two occasions I took part in charity Christmas wrapping events at the local shopping mall, something I used to do whilst managing a nature study centre, as the local Barclays bank would match the takings.

A special thank you must also be extended to friends Jackie and Doug, both Scout leaders, who willingly assembled and dismantled a mini-commando course and helped to run it at four separate fundraising events. They even, eventually, included a climbing wall. The children absolutely loved it. On one occasion, a three-year-old was happily negotiating the course on his own until we found a very worried parent who suddenly realised where his son had disappeared to and whisked him away just as he was about to start his third round! Surely a commando in the making.

I cannot leave out Lily and Chris either, who were everywhere taking the money and handing out goody bags at the end of the course, and Gwen who ran the Every Ticket A Winner tombola.

Local businesses also deserve a big thank you. One design company produced a full-sized poster, free of charge, showing me abseiling and asking for support. Local supermarkets donated raffle prizes, packets of raisins (for the goody bags) and even camouflage napkins.

My friend Kareth, up in Scotland, brilliantly handled my Just Giving website, as I am so useless with IT, but the final thank you has to go to all those who donated online and all who generously parted with their money to support the various events.

One thing was clear: nobody refused when they knew it was being done to support the Royal Marines. We should all try to support those who give their all. I did – and what an experience it was.

For more information on the Commando Spirit Appeal: 0844-693 1944, www.commandospirit.com

The Editor says…

My father served in the Royal Marines and in 2012 I had the honour of joining them on duty in Afghanistan. Wherever they are, they really do give their all. Which is why Sally and I set out to raise funds for the Commando Spirit Appeal. Sally, in particular, has proved that she really does have the commando spirit. Not only was she hugely skilful – and fearless – during the abseil itself, she has also done extraordinarily well to reach the £10,000 mark (despite my best efforts, I reached a rather more modest £5,354). Truly, Sally is a very special The Lady reader.

Matt Warren

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