DUNCAN BARKES Calling all men: it’s time to slip into something nice and slinky

A question for the chaps: have you ever worn a frock? I have, and I firmly believe every man should do it at least once in his life. The opportunity to dress like a lady and slip into a pair of high heels should be embraced by every bloke reading the Observer this week. Let me tell you why.

On Sunday, May 22, the first-ever Hike In Heels will be taking place in Chichester to raise funds for St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

Men from across the area are being asked to slip into something slinky to support this vital local charity.

I have already got my dress and high heels prepared and will be launching the hike at 11am from Chichester Rugby Football Club.

There will be a warm-up session before the hike gets under way, where I will be dispensing tips; how best to promenade in your platforms, what to do should your heel get stuck in a pavement crack, how to sup a pint in a ladylike fashion, etc.

Upon returning to the club after the one-mile ‘hike’ around Chichester, there will be a welcome back pie-and-a-pint, topped off with a search for the Brainiest Hiker in Heels as we play our own version of Spirit FM’s Battle of the Boozers, a general knowledge pub quiz with a top prize up for grabs.

Entry to the quiz is strictly limited to fellas in frocks and costs a mere £1.

But for all the fun and frivolity there is a very serious reason why I am involved in this event.

Since 1987 St Wilfrid’s Hospice has cared for tens of thousands of people. Running costs for 2011 will be in excess of £5m, which is roughly £14,000 a day.

Current NHS funding contributes to only 15 per cent of the hospice’s annual expenditure; the rest is made up by fundraising events.

To all gentlemen reading this page, I urge you to join me on Sunday, May 22. We need you.

Entry is just £10 and you are asked to raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship.

This is a great opportunity for a group of mates or work colleagues to get together and have a blast on a Sunday morning.

I will personally mention all blokes or companies signing up to the hike on my radio show, and a special mention to the best-dressed bloke will be made in this column.

Are you man enough to take up the challenge? I really hope so. Pick up an entry form from any of the St Wilfrid’s Hospice charity shops, or call the fundraising department on 01243 755827.

Please join me for the Hike in Heels. I’ll be the tubby ‘lady’ in the red frock and gold slingbacks.