£1m makes Red Nose Day a red letter day
SCOTTISH entrepreneur Tom Hunter's charitable foundation gave Comic Relief its best start ever with a £1 million contribution.
Throughout the country, thousands of people, including hundreds of celebrities, did their bit for Red Nose Day in an attempt to beat the 2005 total of 63 million. Events took place across the UK before the event culminated with the Big One! TV show on BBC1 and BBC2.
In Scotland, Paul Loughran, 27, raised 5,124 when he pushed a pea with his nose for just under a mile, breaking the previous world record.
The Hunter Foundation money is earmarked for a partnership initiative to support some of the world's poorest farmers in Africa.
Sir Tom Hunter said: "Comic Relief introduced us to the whole issue of global poverty. This is no donation, it's an investment in their brand and their brilliance."
Celebrity presenters taking part in last night's show included Jonathan Ross, Russell Brand, Lenny Henry, Davina McCall, Graham Norton, Chris Evans, Paul O'Grady, Fearne Cotton and Kate Thornton.
Sketches included big comedy names such as Ricky Gervais, Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat, The Mighty Boosh, Catherine Tate, Lenny Henry and Doctor Who star David Tennant.
The Little Britain team was also involved, with Kate Moss taking the role of Vicky Pollard's twin sister, and her tracksuit top was sold on eBay.
Other items to be auctioned include the Ford Cortina used on the BBC1 series Life on Mars and signed Take That goodies.
Last night's TV show also featured the finals of both Comic Relief Does The Apprentice and Comic Relief Does Fame Academy as well as a special episode of The Vicar of Dibley, featuring the rock star Sting.
The last Red Nose Day in 2005 raised 63 million, although Comic Relief, which is now in its 17th year, hopes to beat that total in 2007.
One new feature this year is that the charity has encouraged people to search through their homes and garages for unwanted items to sell, inspired by the TV show Comic Relief Does Car Booty featuring comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.
Sixty per cent of the money raised goes to help people in Africa, while the remaining 40 per cent will be used in the UK.
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