Celebrity watch

Lil' Chris, Ray Quinn and Devon Anderson support School Aid.

Preeti Desai
Preeti Desai

Lil' Chris, the star of Rock School, Ray Quinn, The X Factor finalist, and actor Devon Anderson helped launch School Aid earlier this month. School Aid is a 12-month educational and fundraising campaign run by development charity World Vision and the National Association of Head Teachers. It aims to raise awareness among British students of the issues that prevent 100 million children worldwide from receiving an education.

A developing world village was recreated in the heart of central London for the launch. Lil' Chris, who is an official ambassador for School Aid, said: "This cause is really worthwhile because it will help build classrooms and provide teachers and books for kids. I'll be visiting one of the School Aid projects in India to see for myself where the money raised by UK school kids will be going."

Klaxons, the up-and-coming indie band, are supporting a battle of the bands to help raise awareness of C-Change, a project by young people's education charity the Woodcraft Folk. A group of 20 young Woodcraft members created C-Change to encourage other young people to take action against climate change. The competition is open to young people aged between 11 and 21. The closing date for submitting music tracks is 18 June.

Antony Cotton, who plays Sean Tully in Coronation Street, took part in Stonewall's fourth annual Equality Walk in Brighton on 6 May. The walk helped raise more than £40,000 towards the charity's work for gay equality. More than 300 people took part in the event, including comedian Amy Lame and Mr Gay UK, Mark Carter. Cotton said: "I'm thrilled to have the chance to support Stonewall. It has achieved so much for gay equality, but there remains so much more to do."

The Countess of Wessex visited participants in Mencap's WorkRight employment scheme in London's Canary Wharf. The charity's royal patron met 10 WorkRight employees at the offices of financial services firms Citigroup and Lehman Brothers. WorkRight is a programme that matches people with learning disabilities to work opportunities in major corporations.

Pat Cash, the former Wimbledon tennis champion, comedian Arabella Weir and former Scotland rugby union captain Eric Peters took part in the third Men In Pants day for male cancer charity Orchid last week. They led hundreds of city workers wearing pants on a mile-long walk through central London.

Current Miss Great Britain Preeti Desai is supporting this year's Carers Week, which runs from 11 to 17 June.

Desai was chosen, because of her experience as a full-time carer for her mother Hema.

Hema was diagnosed with depression in 2000 and Desai took the decision to put her education on hold to care for her.

"There were tough times," she says. "On the few occasions I was able to take time out and see friends, I would worry about my mum instead of enjoying myself - I could never completely switch off."

Desai was crowned Miss Great Britain after controversial Big Brother contestant Danielle Lloyd was stripped of her title for allegedly having a relationship with one of the judges - footballer Teddy Sheringham.

"When I was caring for my mum, I would have liked to speak to someone who could understand what I was going through and how I was feeling," says Desai. "I regret that I didn't know about Carers Week and the fantastic support that is out there for carers."


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