Celebrity watch

Actor Nigel Havers, who lost his wife Polly to ovarian cancer, was a special guest when a founders plaque was unveiled at the Ovarian Cancer Action research unit last week.

Nigel Havers supports Ovarian Cancer Action
Nigel Havers supports Ovarian Cancer Action

The unit, which is based at Hammersmith Hospital and Imperial College in London, is the first of its kind in the UK. It was opened last summer by the charity to carry out research into ovarian cancer, the fourth most common cancer in women and one that is difficult to diagnose early and treat successfully. Survival rates are low in the UK and have changed little in 20 years.

"I know from personal experience the devastation and heartbreak that a diagnosis of ovarian cancer can bring," says Havers. "As a patron of Ovarian Cancer Action, I want to do everything I can to prevent other women from suffering as my wife did. We have the opportunity to save many women's lives, and I can't think of doing anything better than that."

Konnie Huq, the Blue Peter presenter, launched Don't Be A Bystander, a nationwide road safety campaign by the British Red Cross and Toyota. The campaign, which is now in its third year, is designed this year to deliver life-saving skills and awareness about first aid to 100,000 children and young people during the summer. The launch coincided with the start of United Nations Global Road Safety Week.

Myleene Klass, the classical musician who set male pulses racing in I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!, is hosting The Night of 1,000 Voices in aid of The National Autistic Society and the Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service. The event, on 6 May at London's Albert Hall, will feature numbers from hit musicals Porgy and Bess and Jesus Christ Superstar, among others. Klass says: "I am so pleased funds will be raised for two extremely deserving causes."

David Seaman, the former England goalkeeper, and celebrity gardener Charlie Dimmock are encouraging people to take part in Great Strides, a series of sponsored walks that will be launched next month in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The walks will raise funds to help the 7,500 people in the UK who have the disease. Walks will be taking place all over the UK throughout the summer; people can sign up to take part or organise one of their own. Seaman, a patron of the trust, says: "I am delighted to be supporting the Great Strides campaign for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Walking is a great way to exercise, and by taking part you'll be raising money to help keep those with the disease fit and healthy."

Ben Thapa of classical singing act G4 supports the Mental Health Foundation.

Last year, when he was planning to run his first London Marathon, Thapa wanted to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation because there is a history of mental illness in his family. He also ran the Dublin Marathon for the charity last year, and has so far raised a total of £8,000.

Thapa has spoken at fundraising events and launched an online auction last month. Items on offer included tickets to meet G4 on their last tour before the group splits and a pair of Thapa's running shoes. He ran this year's London Marathon and hoped to raise another £8,000.

"Many people aren't aware how widespread mental illness is," says Thapa. "For as long as I can remember, it's been prevalent within my family and the foundation has always been there to provide support."

Russell Marriott, director of fundraising at the Mental Health Foundation, says: "Ben understands the issues surrounding mental health and the need to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding it."


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