Celebrity watch

Dr Who star David Tennant is a patron of international cancer charity AICR.

David Tennant
David Tennant

David Tennant, the Scottish actor who plays the tenth incarnation of the Doctor in the BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who, agreed to become a patron of the Association for International Cancer Research last month.

"I know only too well that cancer strikes without regard to age or race, country or creed, fame or fortune," says Tennant, whose mother died from cancer earlier this year. "I believe AICR's approach to funding research, wherever it is taking place, is at the forefront of the battle to bring cancer under control, and I am proud to have been asked to become a patron."

AICR is an independent charity based in St Andrews, Scotland. It funds what it considers to be the best researchers and the most valuable studies.

Norman Barrett, chief executive of the AICR, says: "As Dr Who, David is expert at fighting aliens. We hope his support will help us in the biggest medical fight we face - the fight against cancer."

After Richard Whiteley's death in 2005, his partner, Kathryn Apanowicz, donated his spectacles to Vision Aid Overseas, who used them to improve the sight of three people in Butajira, a small rural town in Ethiopia.

The charity recycles unwanted spectacles and sends teams of volunteer optometrists and dispensing opticians to countries in the developing world, where they set up clinics, screen patients and provide them with appropriate glasses.

Whiteley and Apanowicz were neighbours of VAO volunteer Michele De Vaal in East Witton, North Yorkshire. De Vaal made the trip to Ethiopia, where pairs of the late Countdown presenter's specs were found to fit the needs of a tailor, a teacher and a student. The BBC made a film following her progress.

"I'm sure Richard would be there thinking 'oh blimey, that is a good idea'," Apanowicz told the BBC. "Especially if his glasses go to a lovely looking woman."

Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins and Matt James from Channel 4's The City Gardener took part in Trees for Cities' 2007 London Tree-Athlon in Battersea Park on 15 September - Collins was the man with the starting pistol; James took part in the race itself. The event raised money for the planting and care of thousands of trees in the UK and internationally. "I'm passionate about trees and green spaces but also love living in the city, so the Tree-Athlon is a great event," says James. "It's so important to plant trees to absorb pollution and reduce the impact of global warming."

Sam and Amanda Marchant, the twins who were joint runners-up in this year's reality television show Big Brother, visited NCH's Children's Centre in Islington, north London, earlier this month to lend their support to the charity's Growing Strong campaign. NCH will launch the campaign in October to highlight the impact emotional wellbeing has on children's futures.

Pop band McFly are encouraging children to sign up to Pups Club - the junior supporters club of the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. "Pups Club is a brilliant way to find out about the incredible work these very special guide dogs do for visually impaired people," says Tom from McFly. "They make a huge difference to the lives of their owners."

The Edge, guitarist with rock group U2, attended Mencap in Northern Ireland's first Race Day event earlier this month. He presented the trophy for the winning horse in the Mencap race to the trainers of Rock of Rochelle at Curragh racecourse in County Kildare, Republic of Ireland.

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