Celebrity watch

Wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan supports World Society for the Protection of Animals.

Melinda Messenger
Melinda Messenger

She has joined forces with the WSPA and the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation to launch an emergency appeal to raise £1m for the Nyaru Menteng Sanctuary in Borneo. The sanctuary was featured in the recent BBC series Orangutan Diary, presented by Strachan.

While she was filming, Strachan, who shot to fame on Saturday morning children's programme Wide Awake Club with Timmy Mallett, found that the sanctuary was facing a funding crisis. She says: "I was shocked by how desperate the situation for orang-utans had become in Borneo, with more and more orang-utans arriving every day.

"The sanctuary is desperately short of money. It will close unless we step in and help - right now."

The appeal has already raised more than £475,000.

David Harewood, who starred in the film Blood Diamond, spoke about his support for the Anthony Nolan Trust on GMTV. Harewood, who joined the bone marrow register himself two years ago, says: "People need to join the register because there are people in need and it could be their last chance of life. Giving four hours of your day and some of your blood stem cells is nothing to ask."

Ben Pegna, who plays for Harlequins rugby league team, has been appointed sports relations manager by international development charity Right To Play. He will coordinate relations with the other sportsmen who support the charity's work, including England and Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard and paralympian Ade Adepitan. Pegna will recruit further sports stars as ambassadors and will accompany them on visits to the charity's projects. He says: "I plan to use my experience in the sporting world to build a team of ambassadors who are concerned about what we do as a charity, and who are passionate about using their position of privilege to help others."

Michael Dawson, the Tottenham and England centre half, is spearheading KidsOut's Box of Delights Appeal, a national campaign for children affected by domestic violence. KidsOut, one of the club's nominated charities, is working with the Women's Aid Federations of England and Northern Ireland to try to provide a box of brand new toys for each child on their arrival at a safe house. Dawson says: "We're happy to be able to support such a remarkable project. It can make such a difference."

The television presenter Melinda Messenger is a supporter of ActionAid. She became involved when she endorsed its Lick Child Poverty Day in September 2005. Last year, she visited Malawi to see the charity's work with some of the country's 500,000 Aids orphans. She visited a nursery and met children who have been forced to live on the streets because their parents are too sick to care for them or have died.

She has decided to sponsor three children in Malawi with ActionAid since her visit. "It's heartbreaking for a mother to think of children as young as my own fending for themselves," she says.

Messenger worked with ActionAid to promote World Aids Day in December 2006 and raised £32,000 for the charity by appearing on a celebrity special of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? last Christmas.

Susan Mears, celebrity coordinator at ActionAid, says: "In the short time Melinda has supported us, she's been very active."

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