Celebrity watch

Rugby player Kyran Bracken supports Wooden Spoon.

The Wooden Spoon mascot
The Wooden Spoon mascot

Kyran Bracken, the former England rugby player and winner of reality TV show Dancing on Ice, launched a community rugby coaching programme on behalf of Wooden Spoon, the rugby charity. The programme, called the Mascots' Challenge, provides rugby coaching to children who wouldn't otherwise receive it.

Bracken says: "With the Rugby World Cup fast approaching, this is a great time to get rugby into the hearts and minds of kids."

Through the programme, mascots at every club in the Guinness Premiership are challenged to raise £5,000 each, which the charity will then match.

Geoff Morris, the chief executive of Wooden Spoon, which began in 1983 when England finished bottom of the Five Nations championship, says: "As a World Cup winner and TV personality, Kyran is recognised by the public and hopefully will inspire the younger generation to try rugby." - Phil Daniels, who plays Kevin Wicks on BBC's EastEnders, escorted fan and nine-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Zoe North to collect an award at the inaugural prize-giving ceremony of Sparks, the children's medical research charity. Princess Michael of Kent, who also attended the event, presented Zoe with a 'child of courage' award for her efforts as a charity ambassador. TV presenter Beverley Turner hosted the gala alongside former tennis player and TV presenter Andrew Castle. It raised £80,000.

Charlie Dimmock, the celebrity gardener who became famous for not wearing a bra while presenting the BBC TV programme Gardeners' World and making up one of the team in Garden Force, has pledged to host a tea party on behalf of the Treloar Trust. The fundraising party, dubbed the 'Celebri-Tea', will honour the education, training and support the charity has been providing to severely disabled children since it was established in 1907.

Hannah Waterman, the actor who earlier this year sang her way to victory with Wet Wet Wet front man Marty Pello in the BBC TV show Just the Two of Us, joined forces with former England cricketer Ronnie Irani to support the Lady Taverners, a youth sports charity. Waterman and Irani were in a celebrity team that took on members of the public to see who could pick the most strawberries for the charity. Other members of the celebrity team included Babs Powell, former dancer in Top of the Pops dance troupe Pan's People, and former cricketer and Lady Taverners president Rachael Hayhoe-Flint. The strawberries will be made into jam and will then be served at fundraising tea parties.

Shobna Gulati, who played Sunita in Coronation Street, has supported international development charity Plan UK for three years.

She first approached the charity in 2004 to enquire about the possibility of sponsoring a child. She was visiting her sister in India in December that year when the south Asian tsunami struck. The following year, she visited seven-year-old Santhammal in southern India with Plan. Gulati says: "I saw the terrible images of the tsunami, but meeting Santhammal was incredible. When you sponsor a child, the money goes towards long-term community development work that ultimately benefits everyone in the village."

More recently, Gulati supported Plan's Because I'm a Girl campaign to raise awareness of girls' rights.

A spokeswoman for the charity says: "Shobna is a fantastic ambassador, because she believes in our work and has a deep understanding of what the charity is about. People of all ages can relate to her, which is ideal when relaying very serious messages."



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