The last week has mostly been spent trying to get my head around the concept of ‘charity’ and exactly how it is defined. That may seem like a time consuming, pointless venture for someone who is working all hours to make this cause a success but it turns out I should have given the word a little more thought. I had given the implications of being charitable plenty of thought – it brings about hope, optimism, education, inspiration, pure joy and is life changing in all its forms. Being charitable in any way is, in my opinion, the greatest gift we can all give. But there was one pitfall in my logic…I had utterly neglected to think about how the words ‘charity’ and ‘charitable’ ought to be used and, in my enthusiasm, I have on occasion used those words flippantly through social media and perhaps trodden on one or two toes in the process without even knowing I had done so.


We are not a registered charity and I go to great lengths to ensure I don’t promote us as such but hadn’t realised that, being a non-charity, I shouldn’t also be using the word ‘charitable’ or in fact calling ourselves a ‘charitable cause’. I had naively thought that since all of our work is of a ‘charitable nature’ we were a ‘charitable cause’. Are you confused yet? I certainly was last week when I lost sleep over this and wondered what on earth people thought we were! Did people think we were a random couple going on a fancy holiday around the world for free whilst claiming to be working and getting funds for it?? That statement couldn’t be further from the truth, it really couldn’t.


Let me take a moment to tell you exactly what Friends for Sharks is and to tell you about the awesome work this non-charity, non-charitable, non-not-for-profit organisation/cause that consists of two passionate individuals, has been doing since it came into existence two months ago.
So, what are we then? I would like to say we are marine superheroes in the making, that we are going to save all of the sharks in the world and that we will do so with smiles on our faces and whilst wearing superhero underpants and capes. That perhaps would be a little over the top.


What we are and can call ourselves is (I checked this) a marine conservation cause…and a mighty fine one at that.


We are two individuals who have given up ALL of their paid work and created Friends for Sharks, with the idea that we could travel the world (paid for by us) and give free marine educational events for adults and children in different countries.


There are so many people in this world that either do not know about the wonders of the oceans or cannot afford to learn about and experience them. Our mission is to change that by spending the little money we have left on two round the world tickets to visit such people and give events to remember where they can learn about sharks, reconnect with nature and feel inspired and empowered to make changes to help their local environments.


We are creating and offering school lessons, children’s shark art competitions, lectures, cafe talks, beach cleans and more for free and all whilst hopefully raising money for The Shark Trust and Project AWARE.


We are paying for all international travel ourselves, we are not in receipt of funding grants, we don’t get paid at all and yet somehow we are making this a success. Already we have over 20 events booked in the UK, Vancouver, the Cook Islands and New Zealand and it is incredible to think that we are able to offer them free of charge. 


We are fundraising to help us cover local costs such as basic food and local transport so we can reach our audiences and don’t starve – which is the most terrifying part of this. We still need to raise £3500 and if we don’t reach it, we are going to get very cold and very hungry in New Zealand during their winter time. However, we will not quit.
If arranging and providing all of that for the coming year isn’t not work enough, we are also climbing a huge learning curve of peaks every single day including social media, marketing, event management, teaching techniques, and educational material production. We are also going to be undertaking voluntary work throughout the tour with global initiatives such as WorkAway. Hosts request 4-5 hours of work per day in exchange for food and board. By undertaking this in addition to our Friends for Sharks events/work we will keep our tour costs to an absolute minimum, resulting in more of the money we fundraise going directly to our nominated charities. We aim to complete voluntary work at orphanages, schools, eco-projects and for families requiring assistance.
Hopefully that will dispel any ideas that this is either easy or a holiday for us…


I have never worked so hard but guess what? I honestly wouldn’t change a moment and I am very proud of Friends for Sharks for getting this far. It has only been two months since we began and already we have events, six fantastic sponsors, a winter auction (details TBC), a clothing range, a marine fundraising calendar and more.


Our latest venture is Nicholas’s sponsored freezing swim for sharks. He is going to be swimming (without a wetsuit) in 9C water on New Year’s Day as far as he can in order to raise funds for our work and he needs your support. Please take a moment to read his story here.


Support Nicholas's sponsored FREEZING swim at

Support Nicholas’s sponsored FREEZING swim at

If we could raise £300, that would provide approximately 12 weeks of food for us when combined with our voluntary work efforts for food.


With just a £2 donation you would be helping us more than you realise. It is not just the money that matters; it is the support and encouragement that each donation gives us whilst we work. It is knowing that someone out there believes in what we are doing and is cheering us on every step of the way.


If you feel inspired by our story and would like to ensure we don’t starve, please help us and give Nicholas a reason to keep swimming when the cold gets too much. Thank you and have a great week.