Okay - so what is this Master Cutler's Challenge that's dragged me out of retirement all about?
Well Sheffield's Master Cutler is a position of honour and influence that dates back to 1624. Nowadays the Master is the figurehead of manufacturing in South Yorkshire (actually a region called Hallamshire but South Yorkshire will do).
It's a full time role for a year and remains hugely influential with local and national government. It also involves going to many livery company dinners in London and being involved in lots of events (more than 400) locally for business, good causes, schools etc.
So why is 2015 special? That's easy - it's my great friend and colleague David Grey who has the honour of being Master Cutler. And even better than that his chosen charity for the year is Brathay Trust along with Help for Heroes. The theme being Young People.
The Master Cutler's Challenge is to give any business / anyone who registers £50. And the Challenge is to turn that into as many £££££s as possible. There've been all sorts of great fundraisers in the past: £50 of petrol into a hybrid when they first came out - taking bets from customers and suppliers as to how many of them they could get round with that petrol; pounds for pounds - weight loss sponsorship from our fantastic heavyweight team at Owen Springs; corporate monopoly. And many others.
We hope to raise close to £100,000 during the year.
What does it mean for me - well I'm out of retirement in 2 ways!! First off I've turned from non-executive to OSL Group Managing Director whilst David is Master Cutler. And second I've used my £50 for a pair of running shoes. Being MD precludes another multi-day effort which is my forte. Hence my Challenge to try to run the boundary of the Cutlers' Company - all in one go. 100 miles over some fairly in-hospitable terrain in parts.
Although I'll be getting this over in one hit - that one hit will take me to limits never previously experienced! I'm expecting to be crawling, to be delirious, to be ill, for my legs to no longer work, for my feet to be destroyed, for total body breakdown.
That's why I was out in the Dark Peak in horrible conditions for nearly 10 hours on Friday.
The training is horrendous! The Challenge will not be a pleasure. The prospect of failing is very high. Completing will be sensational. It will be even more so if I can raise some good money to help young people in South Yorkshire through Brathay.
£10,000 for example will enable 15 (probably 30 when we obtain match for your wonderful donations) young people to attend a life transforming 12 week Brathay programme.
Every single pound is so gratefully received. I know I have asked before and you have all been so generous. I only ask that you follow me this time - if you can manage a few quid I will be overwhelmed. I'm hoping that all our corporate contacts will step up to the plate this time - after personal donations formed the majority of the £55,000 I raised in 2013 with Challenge 30.
(I'm hoping to have tracker technology so you will be able to follow me real time on Google maps)