Celebrities

Actors Matt Damon and Jude Law, comedians Eric Idle and Steve Coogan and sports presenters Gary Lineker and Georgie Thompson are among 200 famous people who have drawn sketches for the Willow Foundation's Stars On Canvas exhibition.

Dr Chris van Tulleken
Dr Chris van Tulleken

The charity, which provides special days out for seriously ill people, will run the exhibition at the SW1 Gallery in London from 2 to 6 December. The canvases will be auctioned online from 27 November.

Sebastian Faulks, author of Devil May Care, the James Bond novel published to celebrate the centenary of Bond creator Ian Fleming's birth, and actor Alan Rickman, who will appear in next year's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, helped to raise more than £100,000 for Dyslexia Action at the charity's annual auction dinner earlier this month. Winning bids included £6,000 for a sleepover for 10 children at London toy store Hamley's.

Our Famous Names: Dr Chris van Tulleken - Supports: Merlin

Van Tulleken, star of Channel 4's documentary series Medicine Men Go Wild with his brother Xand, is a patron of emergency medical relief charity Merlin."The professor who taught me tropical medicine is also a Merlin trustee," said van Tulleken. "After he saw the TV show, he contacted my brother and me to ask if we would get involved.

"I feel very strongly that it's important to work with existing healthcare systems, rather than simply going in as emergency relief, then leaving. Merlin does that better than anyone else."

Van Tulleken is supporting the charity's Hands Up For Health Workers campaign, which has been launched to highlight a worldwide shortage of health workers. In preparation for the initiative, he visited health facilities and workers in the Central African Republic.

"The CAR embodies the problem of a forgotten place that is suffering because it doesn't have the people in place to provide the healthcare it so desperately needs," he said. "What we're saying is: Africa needs healthcare workers."

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