Celebrity Watch

This week, two of the Nancys from BBC talent show "I'd Do Anything" turn out for Mencap's Snap! photo competition, and musician Jools Holland shows his support for the New Marlowe Theatre campaign.

In the frame: Lark (left), Amposa-Banson and Parnell (right)
In the frame: Lark (left), Amposa-Banson and Parnell (right)

Mencap Lark and Amposa-Banson both took part in BBC One talent show I'd Do Anything, in which 12 hopefuls competed for a chance to play the lead role of Nancy in a West End revival of the British musical Oliver! The pair presented awards to the winners of disability charity Mencap's Snap! photo competition in London last month.

The competition is intended to showcase the talents of people with learning disabilities through their photography and the stories behind their pictures.

Jo Parnell's Hay scooped the award in the 'travel and interesting places' category.

"It reminds me of when I used to go to school," says Parnell of her picture. "I like the hay and the field, and it reminds me of the end of summer. It's taken at Ditchling Beacon on the South Downs."

- Former England cricket captain Sir Ian Botham wrote a letter to The Daily Telegraph last month to highlight the predicted rise in diabetes in the UK and draw attention to Diabetes UK's Diabetes Week. The letter drew attention to research into diabetes by the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory, which estimates that the number of people suffering from the disease is likely almost to double in the next 20 years. Botham and his wife wrote: "As parents of a child with type 1 diabetes, we are extremely concerned about this rise. It will have serious consequences for the general health of the UK. It is time to take action and urge all readers to do everything they can to help avert this crisis."

Jools Holland, the musician and presenter of Later ... With Jools Holland on BBC Two, has been made a patron of the New Marlowe Theatre Campaign. The campaign aims to raise £6m of private donations towards the overall project costs of about £25.5m to build a new performing arts centre in Canterbury, Kent.

Actor Bill Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in ITV soap Coronation Street, paid a visit to the Royal School for the Deaf and Communication Disorders in Cheshire with his wife Sara last month to present a cheque for £20,000 to the charity. The couple won the money after appearing on ITV1's All Star Mr and Mrs, which challenges couples to score points for charity by answering questions about each other.

Actor, comedian and presenter Griff Rhys Jones has been signed up by the Civic Trust. Jones presented BBC television series Restoration, in which viewers voted to restore one of several listed buildings he explored. Last month, he was appointed president of the Civic Trust, the umbrella body for the 750 civic societies that work to improve and conserve towns and cities.

"The trust came to me because of my work on Restoration and because I'm involved in raising money for the redevelopment of the Hackney Empire theatre in east London," says Jones. "Places like this are so important to the local area - not just the theatre itself, but the streets around it.

"All my life I've been affected by our urban environment. We need to feel secure in our streets - that's not a crime issue, necessarily, but bad planning can be a blight."

Philip Kolvin, chair of the trust, says: "In Griff, we have a passionate and articulate advocate of our towns and cities whose architectural heritage, modern design and green space are hallmarks of our civilisation."

 - Graham Willgoss, graham.willgoss@haymarket.com

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