I’ve walked into many a pet store lately on the hunt for fish-related products around Winchester, but have often been dragged towards creatures of a fluffier, furry and sometimes frightening nature with “ooo’s” and “coo’s”.

Forced to peer between the wires of cages, my eyes would often be met by the gruesome grin of a rat-type animal. Not masking the disappointment of something I initially thought could be cuter and cuddlier, I’d turn my nose up in disgust.

Yet after my experiences standing around Winchester City Centre on Saturday afternoon, collecting for a local charity, I felt somewhat for the entombed rat.

Standing with arm outstretched, collecting tin in hand, I was ignored, grunted at, sneered at and even loudly insulted once (to that particular sir, I had horizontal stripes on, so I may not have quite looked my toned self) and treated very negatively indeed for over two hours.

Not having grown a tail recently, I was certainly be surprised by people’s reactions. I thought we had a city that was considered to be a lot friendlier.

Having wondered up and down the High Street countless times over the last few years, and getting used to ignoring the persistent pleas for money, my email address and my bank details, I think we all may be guilty of being a little too rude to our fellow charitable beings.

Admittedly, Winchester is renowned for a High Street full of people bothering us as we meander around them, but is it really necessary to be downright rude to them?

In future, I know exactly what I will do differently when stopped in the street.

But my thanks must go to the people who kindly popped money into the collecting tin. I was perhaps surprised by some of the types of people who were so generous, but it was great that so many people could donate some pennies.