Fundraising: Celebrity watch

James Nesbitt - Supports: Unicef

Actor James Nesbitt visited schoolchildren in India who have benefited from Unicef and Manchester United's United for Unicef partnership. The Shishu Siksha Karmashuchi programme aims to bring education to the doorsteps of children living in the poorest and most remote areas of West Bengal, where an estimated 1 million do not attend school.

Since 1998, more than 16,000 SSK centres have opened and become an integral part of society in West Bengal. Nesbitt, an ardent Manchester United fan, visited a community so far away from the nearest formal school that its children would have to walk several miles to get there. He said: "What strikes me most is the children's enthusiasm for learning. When I asked them what they didn't like about school, they couldn't think of anything."

Ruby Wax is to spend a day as a shop assistant in one of Arcadia's stores, after its owner Philip Green bid £50,000 for her services at the Retail Trust's 52nd annual London Ball. The ball was hosted by the comedienne and attended by more than 1,000 guests. Wax donated her time to raise awareness of the trust's work with people in the retail industry. The event raised more than £435,000.

Nell McAndrew is urging people to take part in the Butlins Swimathon 2005. She said: "NCH is one of my favourite charities because it helps the most vulnerable children in our society. I'm thrilled to be supporting Butlins Swimathon 2005, which encourages people to get fit for this great cause." Th event, running from 19-27 March, aims to entice 30,000 people to swim at one of the UK's 500 participating pools. Seventy per cent of the funds raised will go directly to NCH.

Jonathan Ross is supporting the Variety Club Children's Charity Gold Heart Appeal. The gold hearts cost £1 from branches of WHSmith, Barclays and Thomas Cook, and will help raise money for special needs schools and children's hospitals. This year, schools can also sell the hearts - 25 per cent of money raised can be kept for school funds or contributed to a named Charity of the Year.

Donna Air is backing Men-cap's New Worlds campaign to raise awareness of learning disabilities in the north-east. "People can achieve a lot if given support," she said.

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