Celebrity watch

Oscar Pistorius supports Leonard Cheshire Disability.

Oscar Pistorius
Oscar Pistorius
<p>Paralympic gold medal-winning runner Oscar Pistorius met a group of young disabled athletes last month to talk about how he has overcome his own disabilities as part of an initiative by Leonard Cheshire Disability.</p>

In partnership with pharmaceutical company Alliance Boots, the charity will support aspiring disabled athletes, such as 32-year-old rower Shaun Sewell, as they train for the Beijing Olympics this year.

South African Pistorius, who was born without a fibula bone in either of his legs and had both lower legs amputated while he was still a baby, runs using carbon fibre artificial limbs in the shape of blades.

"It's really important to remember that people are not disabled by their disabilities, but enabled by their abilities," says Pistorius. "It's a real honour to be able to come along and pass on whatever advice I can to some very talented athletes who are clearly focused on their unique abilities."

TV chef Gordon Ramsay, singer Robbie Williams, actor Sienna Miller and supermodel Elle Macpherson were among the celebrities who revealed what would be in their dream Christmas stockings for Macmillan Cancer Support's Celebrity Christmas Stocking Auction last month. The event, held at London's Waldorf Hilton hotel, raised £210,000. Ramsay's stocking included a champagne lunch for two at Harrods and raised £21,000.

Dame Helen Mirren, the Oscar-winning star of The Queen, is supporting the British Heart Foundation's Valentine Appeal. It aims to raise £1m to help fund BHF Heart Nurses and support the BHF Heart HelpLine. Mirren has written a love note to encourage people to donate to the appeal. It reads: "One more day with my dad, who died of a heart attack, just one more day."

Sir Matthew Pinsent, the five-times Olympic gold medal-winning rower, football pundit Sir Trevor Brooking and motoring journalist Tiff Needell were among the celebrities to sign a £10 banknote to raise money for Sparks. The children's medical research charity auctioned the note for £10,000 at its Winter Ball at the Park Lane Hilton last month.

Lawrence Dallaglio, the Wasps and former England rugby player, opened a £100,000 sports facility part-funded by rugby charity Wooden Spoon at Richmond House in Hampton, Surrey, last month. The facility includes an all-weather sports court with raised seating, new landscaping and paved areas. Dallaglio says: "Sport has given me a huge number of opportunities and a great deal of pleasure. I hope it does the same for the children here."

David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party and MP for the Oxfordshire constituency of Witney, is a trustee of Epilepsy Research UK and has been involved with the charity since 2004.

His son Ivan has epilepsy and cerebral palsy. This prompted Cameron to become a trustee of the Epilepsy Research Foundation while still a backbencher.

Leigh Slocombe, chief executive of Epilepsy Research UK, says: "We wrote to Cameron asking him to get involved after he wrote an article in The Daily Telegraph about how his family coped with Ivan's epilepsy. He's been involved ever since."

The foundation merged with the Fund for Epilepsy last year to create Epilepsy Research UK. Cameron helped launch the new charity at the Palace of Westminster in November last year, where he said: "Epilepsy is an extremely important issue. For many years, people have been embarrassed or too shy to talk about it, but awareness is greater now and, more importantly, so is research."

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