Celebrity watch

Meg Matthews, Julia Stephenson and Maria Daines support Animal Defenders International.

Maria Daines
Maria Daines

Meg Matthews, ex-wife of rock star Noel Gallagher, Independent newspaper columnist Julia Stephenson and musician Maria Daines were trapped in a cage to promote International Primate Day earlier this month.

The stunt was staged in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament in London, to draw attention to ADI's campaign to end primate experiments in Europe.

"For too many years, primates have been incarcerated behind the walls of impenetrable establishments in the name of animal research," said Daines, who recently released a song called Monkey in a Cage. "Advances in science show that testing on primates is unnecessary. When the opportunity arose to give a voice to the plight of these poor creatures, it was an easy song to write."

Dame Kelly Holmes, the double Olympic gold medallist, has become an ambassador for children's charity Dreams Come True. She will meet terminally and seriously ill children and encourage supporters to raise funds for the charity. Holmes says: "I've been fortunate enough to have my own dream come true, and now I want to help children and young people battling illness to do the same."

Kellie Shirley, the actor who plays Carly Wicks in the BBC soap EastEnders, will take part in learning disability charity Mencap's Hydro Active Women's Challenge on 16 September. The 5km women-only race will take place at three venues across the UK, in London, Birmingham and Liverpool.

Pop twins The Cheeky Girls and Connie Talbot, the six-year-old finalist of Britain's Got Talent, will perform at a fundraising event for diabetes research. Pop4diabetes is being organised by teenager Shane Board from Poole, Dorset, who has type 1 diabetes, and will take place in Bournemouth on 3 November. The event will also include a charity auction. Prizes for the auction will include a signed set of photos from the Harry Potter films.

Ben Shephard, the GMTV presenter, is supporting the Everyman Male Cancer Campaign's annual TacheBack fundraiser. This calls on men to get sponsored to grow a moustache in September and raise funds for male cancer research. Other backers of the campaign include Shephard's fellow TV presenters Dermot O'Leary and Desmond Lynam, athlete Iwan Thomas, actor Patrick McGuinness and Anton Du Beke from BBC 1's Strictly Come Dancing.

Angelina Jolie, the Hollywood actor, has been a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees since 2001.

On her latest trip for the agency, she spoke to some of the 1,200 refugees from the war in Iraq who are trapped at the makeshift Al Waleed camp in the west of the country and are prevented from leaving for neighbouring Syria.

"I have come to Syria and Iraq to help draw attention to this humanitarian crisis and to urge governments to increase their support for UNHCR and its partners," said Jolie during her visit. "My sole purpose in both countries is to highlight the plight of those uprooted by the war in Iraq."

Jolie also visited a centre that cares for children while their parents register as refugees in Damascus.

The UN refugee agency estimates more than 4.2 million Iraqis have left their homes because of the conflict, with two million fleeing to neighbouring states and another 2.2 million displaced inside the country.


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