Celebrity watch

Businesswoman Deborah Meaden supports the Elephant Family's Survival Tour, while Penny Lancaster Stewart explains why she chose to support Vision Aid Overseas

Support: Redditch Nightstop Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson are the 'Three Blondes in a Boat' who won sailing gold for Britain at this summer's Beijing Olympics when they triumphed in the Yngling class. They presented the best charity award and a £2,000 cash prize at this year's National Lottery Awards to homelessness support charity Redditch Night Stop.

The Worcestershire-based organisation was voted the UK's favourite National Lottery-funded charity by the public and presented with the award live on BBC One on 30 August.

"Our lottery funding has allowed us to make a real difference in our community and beyond," said Gillian Groom, coordinator of Redditch Nightstop. "Being part of this year's awards has helped our project to be recognised on a national platform."

The Three Blondes in a Boat said: "It's a wonderful example of how lottery funding has really made a difference to the local community and beyond."

- Michael Palin, the comedian, actor and television presenter, will be talking about his life and recent travels in Europe in An Evening with Michael Palin: Travel, Comedy and a Little Bit of Fish in aid of Sheffield charity Helen's Trust. The show will be held at Sheffield City Hall on 30 October to raise money for the charity, which offers nursing care and support to people with terminal illnesses in their own homes.

- Deborah Meaden, one of the dragons from BBC Two's Dragons' Den, is supporting Elephant Family's Survival Tour. The wildlife conservation charity is touring major landmarks in England and Ireland with a 13-strong herd of life-size topiary elephants to raise funds that will secure land for the threatened Asian elephant in India. Meaden has paid for the herd to be transported by green haulage company JPM Eco Logistics, which uses a fleet of lorries that run entirely on bio-diesel made from rapeseed grown in Lincolnshire.

- Former England cricket captain Ian Botham is encouraging people to buy chocolates to support his 2008 charity walk for Leukaemia Research. Forty tickets have been hidden in the boxes of chocolates, giving the recipients the chance to join Beefy on one of the stages of his walk, which will take place in nine towns across the UK from 10 to 18 October. It begins in Taunton, Devon, and takes in Windsor, Tunbridge Wells, Bury St Edmunds, Stratford-upon-Avon, Llandudno, Harrogate, Milngavie, near Glasgow, and Durham. Botham will walk between 14 and 18 miles in each town. The chocolates will be available in Wickes stores and some Marks & Spencer outlets.


Photographer Penny Lancaster Stewart has spoken about her work for Vision Aid Overseas.

Lancaster Stewart, the photographer, model and wife of rock star Rod Stewart, was made an ambassador for international blindness charity Vision Aid Overseas last month.

She plans to travel to Zambia in October with a team from Vision Aid and opticians Specsavers, the charity's corporate partner, to photograph the life-changing effect that the charity's project to provide new glasses can have on people there whose lives are blighted by poor eyesight.

The photographs will be auctioned at a charity exhibition in London later in the year to add to the funds being raised by Specsavers stores in the UK.

"I photographed the Masai tribe in Africa a few years back and was touched by their warmth and happiness in the daily challenges they face," said Lancaster Stewart. "I hope to be able to reflect life in the same way in Zambia and, through striking images, portray the massive difference this project will make to many thousands of people."

 - Graham Willgoss, graham.willgoss@haymarket.com

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