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Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Orca (ID171) breaches off the coast of Scotland © Steve Truluck.

Watching whales and dolphins in the wild can be life changing

Whales and dolphins are too intelligent, too large and too mobile to ever thrive in...

Our lockdown home heroes

Like most charities, our fundraising events have been cancelled and, whilst we hope they’ll go ahead at a later date, the loss of income is considerable - we’re reliant on our supporters to help us continue to protect whales and dolphins wherever they need us.

So you may well have heard about the 2.6 Challenge. This inspired fundraising event was designed to help UK charities, like us, who have missed out on the funds our supporters would have raised at the London Marathon. 

What a fantastic idea I thought when it was unveiled - I’d love WDC to be part of such a brilliant initiative.

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It's not too late to be a lockdown hero and raise money to help whales and dolphins!

I wrestled with the decision: should I bother our supporters, who may be struggling themselves?  But, I figured, wouldn’t some want to be part of something amazing for whales and dolphins and have at least one positive memory of lockdown?

The past couple of weeks have shown me that I really shouldn’t have doubted! I’ve been genuinely touched by the overwhelmingly positive response and lovely comments left on our JustGiving page.   Some lovely people were pleased to be able to donate £2.60 while they can't afford more at the moment; others apologised for being unable to do a physical challenge but wanted to donate £26.20 nevertheless.

Daniella fundraised with her 26 hour readathon
Daniella fundraised with her 26 hour readathon

Who knew how creative you could be using 2.6 or 26 as your inspiration?  Our young Dolphin Defenders enthusiastically came up with some themed challenges. I’ve loved hearing about them, although I’m not sure parents will have enjoyed all of them! For example: listening to 26 Christmas songs on a loop all day (Lilian) - and it was a very hot April day!  Learning the names of 26 dolphin species off by heart (Isla) , drawing 26 dolphins, 26 sit-ups in front of your favourite orca toy (Skye) and roping Mum into a garden relay with 26 marine-themed toys (Molly).  One brilliant young lady (Millie) even bounced and spun for a dizzying 26 front flips on a trampoline.

Some of the conversations I’ve had on email have brought a lump to my throat such as the NHS key worker parents working on the frontline who still supported their child in her 2.6 Challenge.

Martin and Judy cycled 2.6 miles a day
Martin and Judy cycled 2.6 miles a day
Isla learnt the names of 26 whale and dolphin species
Isla learnt the names of 26 whale and dolphin species
Ruth learnt 26 capital cities for a test
Ruth learnt 26 capital cities for a test

And it’s not only our Dolphin Defenders who wholeheartedly embraced the 2.6 Challenge: adults did yoga and squats (Rachel), ran 2.6 miles a day for 10 days  (Sophia) or cycled 2.6 miles a day (Martin & Judy) . There was Daniella’s 26-hour readathon, learning all the capital cities of the world for a 26 question test via Zoom (Ruth) and even a 26 line poem on bottlenose dolphins and WDC - some great rhyming couplets from Catherine and John.

Unable to go dolphin-spotting, Sarah, one of our lovely Shorewatch volunteers danced 26 minutes every day for 10 days and our Scottish Dolphin Centre manager, who is currently on maternity leave, had a great time with a very giggly baby Tom doing 26 ‘reverse baby curls’ - nice one Ali.

And what did I do?  Well, amazed and inspired by all the marvellous ideas on JustGiving, I racked my brains - but there was really nothing I felt I could be sponsored to do.  Aha - that’s it I thought!  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I rarely sit still and do nothing. So, for 2.6 hours on 26th April, that’s exactly what I did - absolutely nothing: no yoga, Pilates or cycling, no walking the dog, reading, knitting, talking, eating, housework (yay!), decorating or baking - nothing!  Friends and family agreed it was probably the most difficult challenge I could have set myself and they loved it.

My challenge was to do nothing for 2.6 hours!
My challenge was to do nothing for 2.6 hours!

Finally, having survived my ‘lockdown within lockdown’ as I have come to call it,  as I write thank you cards and send certificates to all our superheroes, what will I take away from the 2.6 Challenge?   Firstly, our supporters are an amazing and inspiring bunch of people; secondly, everyone can do something to help whales and dolphins.

All over the country, charities are thanking supporters for providing the help that they so desperately need now, more than ever. The coronavirus pandemic has created lots of home heroes and I am proud to count WDC’s supporters amongst them, and I salute and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Want to do your bit?

It's not too late to take the 2.6 Challenge and raise money to help whales and dolphins.

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