Celebrity watch

This week Oscar-nominated composer Patrick Doyle organises a concert of his music for Leukaemia Research, the stars of Dead Ringers perform at a Changing Faces gala and Jo Brand runs 5km for the Alzheimer's Society - much to everyone's amusement.

Jo Brand
Jo Brand

The comedian Jo Brand took part in last month's Hydro Active Women's Challenge in Hyde Park, London, for the Alzheimer's Society. 

It was the third time that Brand had run the race to raise money for the society, and earlier this year she agreed to become one of the charity's official ambassadors.

Before she became a comedian, Brand did a degree in psychiatric nursing at Brunel University. She went on to work as a psychiatric nurse at the Maudsley Hospital in south London, where she gained experience of caring for people with dementia. That motivated her to help raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer's Society.

"People laughed when I said I was running 5km," says Brand. "I don't know why it amuses them. But seriously, dementia is no joke. In a former life, I was a psychiatric nurse and saw first hand the devastating impact that it can have. Dementia robs people of their lives."

Patrick Doyle, the Oscar-nominated composer who wrote the scores for films including Sense and Sensibility and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, organised a showcase of his music at the Royal Albert Hall last month to raise money for Leukaemia Research.

British actors including Dame Judi Dench, Robbie Coltrane and Emma Thompson hosted the night. The London Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus provided the music for the concert, called Music From the Movies, which was directed by actor and director Kenneth Branagh.

Doyle, himself a leukaemia survivor, says: "Being diagnosed with leukaemia was such a shock. The only way to give everyone with this cancer the best possible chance of survival is to improve treatments, and this can be done only with continued research. By organising this concert, I hope we can help Leukaemia Research continue its amazing work."

Trevor Nelson, the Radio 1 DJ, is backing Dare to Care, the joint initiative by the Campaign to End Child Poverty and CSV to broaden the skills and horizons of young people by encouraging professionals to share their skills. The five-month campaign began in October and intends to recruit 35,000 volunteers to give time to help children from low-income families. "Giving young people advice like this can really broaden their horizons and encourage them to focus on and pursue their dreams," says Nelson. "Whether it's DJing, filming, gardening or reading, your time can make a lasting impact on someone's life."

Jan Ravens and Jon Culshaw, stars of BBC Two's Dead Ringers sketch show, performed at Changing Faces' gala dinner at the Bloomsbury Ballroom in London last month. Changing Faces, which supports people with disfigurements, raised more than £100,000 at the event, where it also celebrated its 15th anniversary.

Dr Chris Steele, the resident doctor on ITV1's This Morning, has become a patron of Beating Bowel Cancer. He says: "I'm passionate about the poor diagnosis of bowel cancer and hope to help raise awareness of this important cause."

Emma Rigby, star of Channel 4 teen soap Hollyoaks, visited aspiring film-makers at the Powerhouse Foyer Federation in Liverpool last month to take part in Mediabox's Mobile Movies project. Mediabox is an initiative run by a consortium including the Media Trust. It offers young people grants to make creative media projects. The Mobile Movies project will train 75 young people to produce and broadcast films using their mobile phones.

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