Britain's Most Admired Charities 2014: Celebrity Charity Champion - Winner: Jo Brand

Awarded to a celebrity who has shown genuine and productive support for her or his chosen charity or charities

Jo Brand
Jo Brand

This award is sponsored by Deloitte

The comedian, a former psychiatric nurse, is a supporter of a large number of charities, including Crisis, Refuge, Comic Relief and Epilepsy Action. She has also raised funds for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust through the live show An Evening with Jo Brand and Friends at the Comedy Store.

Brand has supported the Alzheimer’s Society on a number of appeals and is a Dementia Friend, having taken part in one of its first information sessions alongside her friend and fellow comedian, Meera Syal.

A spokeswoman for Alzehimer’s Society says: "Jo has an incredibly busy diary, but still manages to make the time to support our work. She gives 100 per cent and is always warm and witty."

Her support is not limited only to national organisations. She also supports a variety of local causes, including the Bromley-based mental health charity Community Options and the Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice, for whom she recently told jokes to walkers before its 10km female-only Moonlit Walk.

Brand tells Third Sector that she tries to do at least one event for the charities that approach her. "I think it’s a better way to do it rather than just sticking to certain charities," she says. "It gives smaller charities the chance to get someone to come along and do a big benefit gig, for example."

Her desire to support charities was driven by her time as a psychiatric nurse, she says. "Having had a normal job and been a ‘normal person’ before I became a comedian, I know what people’s lives are like," she says. "If you earn a shedload of money and you have the ability to command large sums, then it’s almost your obligation to do things for charity and to do it as much as you can."

But she says there are limits to what she’ll do. "I’d rather not do a fundraiser that involves climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or canoeing down the Limpopo River," she says. "I did a midnight walk for a hospice a couple of years ago and it was hideous."


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