Celebrities

This week, adventurer Ben Fogle helps raise cash for the RNLI and actress Kara Tointon shows her support for Christian Aid.

Quentin Blake supports the Book Bus Foundation
Quentin Blake supports the Book Bus Foundation

- TV presenter and adventurer Ben Fogle is urging people with places in next year's London Marathon to raise money for the RNLI. "When you train for a marathon, you know you're preparing for a physically and mentally challenging one-day event," he said. "Lifeboat crews are different. When they undergo training, they know it is to prepare them for a physical and mental challenge every single time they assist someone in difficulty at sea.

- Actor Kara Tointon, who plays Dawn Swann in TV soap EastEnders, is supporting Christian Aid's Christmas appeal to help families in poor communities around the world. She recently visited Lusaka in Zambia with the charity to see how it is helping families devastated by HIV/Aids. "It was the kind of poverty I hadn't seen before," she said. "But there are amazing projects out there providing help."

- Quentin Blake

Supports: The Book Bus Foundation

Blake (facing front, in his studio), the artist famous for illustrating Roald Dahl's books, provided the pictures that adorn the sides of the Book Bus (inset), a mobile children's library and book distribution service for communities in Zambia.

The bus tours villages, community schools and orphanages, where the charity engages children in activities such as storytelling, singing, painting and performing plays.

"I got involved with the foundation when my old friend and publisher Tom Maschler approached me at the end of 2006," said Blake. "He told me he wanted to buy a bus, fill it with children's books and take it to Africa. He asked if I would come up with a design for the bus.

"The illustrations weren't especially difficult, though it was tricky working around the wheel arches, doorway and windows. I was thrilled with how it turned out. Tom tells me the first year in Zambia has been a great success. The bus crew have worked with more than 1,500 children, set up reading clubs, donated 1,000 books and encouraged plenty of budding readers and artists."

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