Sport Relief 2016 came to a fitting climax this weekend as tens of thousands of men, women and children took to the streets, swimming pools and schools at thousands of events across the UK to bring the total people involved in this year’s Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games campaign to over a million.
Famous faces from the world of entertainment and sport were out in full force across the country to walk, run, swim and cycle alongside the Great British public - from EastEnders star Danny Dyer to 2015 Strictly Come Dancing winner Jay McGuiness and Olympian James Cracknell. In London, Call the Midwife’s Laura Main and gold medal-winning Olympian Sally Gunnell joined runners whilst popstar Shayne Ward and Emmerdale’s Matthew Wolfenden took part in Sheffield, rugby star Shane Williams joined in Cardiff and world champion boxer Carl Frampton got involved in Belfast.
In the midst of all the action at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was comedienne Jo Brand, having only just recovered from her gruelling BT Sport Relief challenge: Jo Brand’s Hell of a Walk which has raised £1,159,220 for Sport Relief. Jo said: “On my challenge, I thought I wasn’t going to make it about 97% of the time. I’m walking today as well, I can’t quite believe it – help me. My feet felt like they’d been lightly blowtorched for a week after my challenge but they’re alright now. I was planning on lying down and having chips thrown on me today but unfortunately that hasn’t happened yet.”
Greg James also lapped up the park’s atmosphere, chatting to Alex Jones and Matt Baker live on BBC One’s Sport Relief Games Show about his truly epic BBC Radio 1 Gregathlon for Sport Relief challenge, after joining thousands of people in London running around the iconic park, for a last lap of honour.
Greg James said: “It was awesome seeing so many people get stuck in to support the brilliant cause that is Sport Relief today. I’ve seen first-hand what a difference the money raised can make and it is truly life-changing. Everybody who took part is a hero.”
The charge was led from Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, just one of six flagship cities including Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Norwich and Sheffield. There were also more than a thousand local events all over the UK that saw people of all ages and abilities turn out to take part.
On Friday night, Olympian James Cracknell set a Sport Relief record for the furthest distance ridden on a retro Raleigh Chopper bicycle in one hour at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, completing 141 laps of Lee Valley VeloPark’s indoor velodrome track. After setting the record, James Cracknell said: “There was a brilliant atmosphere here today and I feel hugely proud to have been a part of it. It’s wonderful to see so many people of all ages and abilities out engaging with sport and pushing their abilities to help raise money and change lives. The generosity of the British public never ceases to amaze me.”
No feat was too big or small as schools and nurseries up and down the country showed their tremendous support by coming up with creative ways to raise money and do themselves proud. From sponsored miles, to 24 hour challenges, and even ‘try-athalons’ where pupils got sponsored to try new sports, they really went the extra mile.
The Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games events marked the culmination of another jam-packed Sport Relief campaign. As well as the return of The Great Sport Relief Bake Off and Let’s Play Darts for Sport Relief, the public also enjoyed an evening of top telly treats on Friday’s Sport Relief Night of TV, including the return of Frank Spencer and a Luther spoof with Idris Elba, Lenny Henry and a whole host of sporting legends.
The Sport Relief 2016 total currently stands at £56,984,007 but will continue to rise as more money comes in from the generous British fundraising public.
Comic Relief Chief Executive, Kevin Cahill, said: “We’d like to thank the British public for their outstanding generosity and compassion. Year on year we ask them to dig deep and do their bit and once again they’ve risen to the challenge. We can’t thank them enough. Their generous support will help us change lives both here in the UK and across the world.”
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About Comic Relief
Comic Relief is a UK charity which aim to create a just world, free from poverty – where everyone is safe, healthy, educated and empowered. Since 1985, Comic Relief has raised over £1 billion. That money has helped, and is helping, people living incredible tough lives, both here at home in the UK and across the world.
For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit comicrelief.com.
Comic Relief, registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland).
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