Celebrity watch

This week, Duncan Bannatyne helps launch the Geared for Giving campaign, while Metallica show their support for music charity Youth Music.

Duncan Bannatyne
Duncan Bannatyne



Supports: Geared for Giving campaign

Bannatyne is one of the dragons from the BBC's business-related series Dragons' Den, in which entrepreneurs pitch for investment in their business ideas. He is supporting the Geared for Giving campaign, which encourages taxpayers to use payroll giving to donate directly from their pay to their chosen charities because it is tax free.

The initiative intends to introduce, promote and relaunch dormant payroll giving schemes with the aim of signing up an extra million employees in the next year. A £6 donation from a higher-rate taxpayer translates into £10 for charity. The campaign estimates that charities lose out on £900m a year because people do not use payroll giving to donate.

Bannatyne says: "Give charities an extra £900m a year at no extra cost to yourself? You shouldn't be asking yourself why you should do this - you should be asking why you wouldn't."

Heavy metal band Metallica will donate the proceeds from their gig at London's O2 Arena this week to Youth Music, the music charity for young people. Some of the money will be used to fund music projects for children in Greenwich at the arena's British Music Experience, which opens next year. The project focuses on rock and pop music and will target vulnerable young people in the London borough.

Steve Mangan, who plays Dr Guy in Channel 4 sitcom Green Wing, is starring in three short films from Age Concern, produced to help improve nutritional standards on hospital wards. Mangan stars as a doctor in a series of comedy sketches intended to raise awareness among nurses, doctors, other health professionals and the public about how good nutrition can aid the recovery of older patients in hospital. The films are available on video-sharing website YouTube.

Jessica Taylor, the wife of England cricket captain Kevin Pietersen and former Liberty X singer, launched the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation's Sweat in the City project earlier this month. The research project is designed to gain a better understanding of how to motivate women to become more active. It is offering 3,000 women aged between 16 and 24, who live in London and currently do little or no exercise, free and mentored gym membership. Participants will be required to respond to questions at the start and finish of the programme, which will help track any change in their attitudes to physical activity.


Soprano Katherine Jenkins has spoken about her work as a trustee of the British Forces Foundation.

Jenkins, the classical singer, launched the British Forces Foundation's Lap of Honour project in June.

The 10-month initiative takes a Mini to high-profile events around the UK with the intention of getting 50 British celebrities to autograph the car and lend their support to the charity, which organises entertainment to raise the morale of British forces serving overseas.

The foundation also intends to persuade at least 100 companies to make donations of £1,000 each. The tour will culminate in the foundation's 10th anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall in April next year, where Jenkins will perform.

Jenkins originally contacted the foundation in 2005 to find out how she could get involved. Mark Cann, director of the foundation, invited her to entertain the troops in Basra, Iraq, at Christmas 2006. Jenkins was so moved by the experience that she joined the board of trustees.

"I'm very proud of being Welsh, and equally proud of being British, so it's nice to be able to do this," says Jenkins.

 - graham.willgoss@haymarket.com

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