Celebrity watch

This week Nightingale Care Home's chief executive talks about the support she gets from former Conservative MP Edwina Currie, while Jack Osborne drives to Mongolia to raise money for Mercy Corps and David Bellamy judges a beard competition at Battersey Dogs & Cats Home.

Edwina Currie (left) and Gloria Hunniford
Edwina Currie (left) and Gloria Hunniford

Currie, who was a health minister in the third Thatcher government, has supported Nightingale care home for the elderly for the past eight years by running a monthly book club for residents.

She used to live on Nightingale Lane, the same road as the care home in Clapham, south-west London. She met someone at a dinner party who told her about Nightingale, after which she walked into the home and asked if she could volunteer.

The former MP organises visits from authors who come to the home to discuss their work with the residents. Authors who have visited so far include Gloria Hunniford, Ruth Rendell and PD James.

"I can't tell you what a boost it gives our residents when their book club is able to gain access to some of the nation's authors and personalities," says Leon Smith, chief executive of Nightingale. "We're eternally grateful to Edwina for all her support and hard work."

Jack Osbourne, son of Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne and X Factor judge Sharon Osbourne, and star of reality TV show The Osbournes, took part in the Mongol Rally to raise money for aid and development charity Mercy Corps.

The rally involved driving a car with an engine of less than 1,000cc 10,000 miles from London to Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia. The journey was filmed for the television show Jack Osbourne: Mongol Rally, which was screened earlier this month. Osbourne drove a 16-year-old Fiat Panda through seven mountain ranges and across three deserts. Mercy Corps hopes to have raised about £250,000 from the event, which will be used to support rural communities in Mongolia.

Alison Cameron, director of fundraising at the charity, says: "It's wonderful to see a high-profile celebrity such as Jack using his adventurous nature for such a good cause."

Prince Harry could train with MapAction, the charity that works to provide up-to-date maps during disasters, and could be sent overseas with its volunteers. The prince attended a reception last week to celebrate the charity completing 50 field and training missions. "We're hoping the prince will be able to deploy with us," says a spokesman for the charity. "There could be some difficulties with that, but we're hoping to train him up."

Actor Orlando Bloom has been named as patron of a development project to update the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury, Kent. The actor, who was born in the city, is backing the fundraising initiative by the New Marlowe Theatre Development Trust. It aims to raise £6m towards the estimated £24m renovation project, which will include a new centre for performing arts. "Regional theatres are an integral part of communities," says Bloom. "They have a vital role to play in bringing people together from all backgrounds."

Scotland football manager Alex McLeish presented a cheque on behalf of Unity Bank to the Stirling Citizens Advice Bureau last week to help fund an initiative that provides food vouchers for people let down by the welfare system. The bureau says it is seeing increasing numbers of clients who have no money for basic necessities, largely as a result of lengthy delays in processing welfare benefits.

David Bellamy, the botanist and broadcaster, judged the beard-growing efforts of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home staff for the charity's Beards for Battersea fundraising initiative. The six-week sponsored beard-growing challenge raised nearly £5,000 for the home.

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