Ice Bucket Challenge: Stars spread charity task

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Lady Gaga did it on a fancy chair, in full Goth make-up, stony-faced and, of course, looking just a little bit weird.

Not one to miss the chance to remove his shirt, David Beckham managed to emerge soaked and still look like he was posing for a Vogue fashion spread, while chef Gordon Ramsay oozed significantly less style as he sprawled on the ground, squealing and flapping like a suffocating salmon.

Grant Stott after doing the challenge. Picture: comp

Grant Stott after doing the challenge. Picture: comp

Everyone from Bill Gates to Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg to Britney Spears, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and, perhaps less famous but closer to home, Hibs’ Michael Nelson, have done it. And so, it seems, has just about everyone on your Facebook friends list.

If you’ve not heard of this summer’s ice bucket challenge – the viral nomination game that has swept social media across the globe – then you must have spent the last few weeks either trapped in a never-ending Fringe show, marooned on Cramond Island with no wi-fi or hiding in fear of being next one tagged to do it.

In a stroke of genius, a relatively little-known US charity which supports sufferers of motor neurone condition ALS (short for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) took a leaf from the widely criticised “neknomination” alcohol craze and instead challenged supporters to take part in a relatively harmless three-bucket cold water – better still, icy water – challenge in which they drench themselves, make a small donation and nominate three others to do 
the same.

Within days, the chain mail-style challenge had gone viral. And as it has spread, the three-bucket challenge has morphed into virtually any kind of soaking using any scale of bucket and occasionally extreme examples of bucket throwing ferocity.

Hibs' Michael Nelson gets a soaking. Picture: comp

Hibs' Michael Nelson gets a soaking. Picture: comp

Now, it seems, pretty much everyone has posted a video of themselves being showered in cold water, with some even managing to remember to make the charity donation.

For Hibs’ Michael Nelson, the challenge appears to take place in breezy conditions and involves several gallons of cold water administered via large buckets by sniggering teammates, some of whom end up nearly as soaked as he does.

Not that Hearts players can be too smug. They look unlikely to escape a soaking after the chief executive and players of Raith Rovers accepted the watery challenge earlier this week and immediately nominated their Saturday opponents to follow suit.

However, the prize for the most extreme soaking in aid of Macmillan probably goes to Forth One breakfast presenter Arlene Stuart, who embraced the fun element of by dressing in a Superwoman costume and bravely standing 
beneath the bucket of her farmer neighbour’s tractor.

Distracted momentarily by a suicidal cat that seems intent on getting in on the challenge, she sings – badly – Let It Go from Disney film Frozen, and ends up drenched by over 1000 litres of cold water. When she finally emerges from the deluge, the normally chatterbox presenter is rendered completely speechless.

“It was fairly clean water but the bucket it was in had been used for all manner of stuff – let’s say there was some farm residue there,” she laughs.

“But I’m man enough to take it and it was for a good cause.”

She believes the challenge has been so successful because it appeals to our inherent love for watching others’ mild discomfort. “People like feeling involved in something and so they are happy to donate to the charity. And we’re all quite sadistic, we like to see our friends and family go through it.”

She nominated, among others, her son Robbie, who plans to complete his challenge along with friends from Edinburgh Diving Club at the Commonwealth Pool’s 10m platform 
this weekend.

She certainly left her fellow breakfast presenter Andy “Boogie” Bouglas high and dry and facing calls for a re-run after managing to chuck just a single measly pail of water over his head before running away.

Before disappearing, he nominated another Forth One stalwart, Grant Stott, who headed to Craigmillar Park Golf Club on Tuesday to fulfil his challenge at the 13th hole.

Standing in his black onesie with his feet in a bucket of water, he first 
nominated panto sidekick Andy Gray, brother John Leslie and a friend, Kenny Houston, before preparing for a drenching.

But while he reckoned he was simply going to be soaked by the contents of a couple of plastic buckets, staff at the club instead turned on the sprinklers.

“Let’s just say it was a rude awakening to my morning,” he says. “I got there wearing my all-American long johns, I was pretty much straight out of bed. The golf course manager and the greenkeepers were standing by to give me a right soaking. The sprinklers just added to the whole experience.

“Most of the time I was just trying to maintain some decency by holding on to my long johns.”

Joining in the action, too, were supporters of Euan’s Guide, a website launched by Edinburgh motor neurone disease (MND) campaigner Euan MacDonald which helps highlight disabled access in public places. Four members responded to Euan’s nomination to raise awareness of MND, and went on to nominate, among others, Christina McKelvie MSP, taking the challenge to Holyrood.

And five members of staff at city recruitment firm Redmill Resourcing were dodging rain showers for a corporate water challenge – taken while wearing their office clothes – in aid of 
ALS charities.

Among the most bizarre participants of the challenge have been over 160 Edinburgh Freemasons, who have so far raised more than £3400 for 70-plus charities. An online video showing many of their hilarious efforts includes an eye-popping contribution from Grahame Vallance, who nearly wears a tiny bright green mankini topped with a pink shower cap. Unfortunately, thanks to some poor aiming by the person in charge of the bucket, he manages to emerge almost completely dry.

• To take part in MacMillan Cancer Support’s ice bucket challenge, text ICE to 70550 to donate £3 to the charity. Or, if you don’t want to accept the challenge, you can text FINE to 70550 and give £10 instead.


The ice bucket challenge has raised millions of pounds for the ALS charity in America thanks to dozens of Hollywood

A-listers and pop stars including Justin Bieber taking part, while even former US president George W Bush has been filmed doing his own challenge with wife Laura, right.

Closer to home, and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (nee Cole) and Rita Ora, Calvin Harris, Simon Cowell and Coleen Rooney – who takes the bucket challenge while sitting in front of her private indoor swimming pool, raising the question of whether it would have been more effective just to dive in – have all done it.

The challenge here has been adopted by cancer support charity Macmillan and so far has raised £250,000, although many have opted to pick their own preferred charity to support.

However, some appear to simply omit the charity element completely and just enjoy a good dunking.

But just with many crazes, it has had its downside: in New Jersey, firefighters ended up in hot water after using high-power hoses to douse a colleague in a painful jet of water.

It’s also been soured, too, by news that the man who devised the idea in the first place had drowned at the weekend aged just 27.

Corey Griffin wanted to raise awareness of ALS in America after the death of his chum, Pete Frates.