Celebrity Watch

This week Classic FM's Katie Derham lends her voice to Leonard Cheshire Disability. Sports stars Linford Christie, Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain are also among the celebs spotted giving their support to good causes.

Derham: gives voice to Creature Discomforts campaign
Derham: gives voice to Creature Discomforts campaign

ITV newsreader and Classic FM presenter Katie Derham is lending her voice to a second series of adverts being launched by Leonard Cheshire Disability. The charity is previewing six new Creature Discomforts characters online, to coincide with a six-week campaign designed to change attitudes to disability.

"Disabled people have the same desires and aspirations as non-disabled people," says Derham. "The new animations will challenge people's low expectations."

The adverts are the second in a series in which disabled people talk about the issues that affect their lives. They have been produced by Aardman Animation, the team behind Wallace and Gromit.

The team has created another four characters for the campaign: a blind chameleon, an owl and a shrimp in wheelchairs, and a hearing-impaired Cheshire cat.

Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter Linford Christie took part in Brent Mind's Healthy Minds project on Sunday. The project is designed to encourage people with mental health problems to become healthier and already offers a weekly programme of sports.

Former England cricket captains Mike Atherton and Nasser Hussain joined a team of cricket stars for a charity cricket event hosted by children's medical charity Operation Smile last week. This was the fourth celebrity cricket event it has run. Each six-a-side team paid £4,000 to enter.

Harry Judd, lead singer of pop band McFly, also took part in a celebrity cricket match last week, in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. The match, at Newmarket in Suffolk, involved former patients. Proceeds go to the trust and the England Schools Cricket Association.

Coronation Street actors Trevor Dwyer-Lynch and Alan Halsall took part in a celebrity golf tournament at Galgorm Castle in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, last Sunday, to raise money for the George Best Foundation. The event will help fund research into liver disease and alcoholism.

Comedian and actor Victoria Wood is supporting development charity WaterAid's new competition in conjunction with Lake District theme park The World of Beatrix Potter. Entrants try to pinpoint the location of a hidden golden egg. Wood chose the location of the egg and filmed a promotional video. "It's a fun competition that's got a brilliant prize and is helping bring water to Malawi," says Wood.

Author, comedian and TV presenter Ben Elton supports disability charity Scope. Elton, the stand-up comic and co-writer of BBC comedy series Blackadder, helped Scope to promote its second annual Time to Get Equal Week last month, which highlighted the discrimination faced by disabled people.

Elton has been involved with the charity's campaigns since it approached him after the publication of his novel Gridlock in 1991, in which the hero, a young scientist, has cerebral palsy.

"People with disabilities are very used to being looked through, over and around," Elton wrote in the book. "They no longer find it surprising when it is presumed that they have little or no potential."

Richard White, celebrity and patronage manager at Scope, says: "Ben has greatly helped us to raise public awareness about disabled people's rights and to reach out to a wider audience. Despite always being busy, he's very proactive about ways he can help."

 -  graham.willgoss@haymarket.com

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