Heart charity sticks by choice of Hamiltons to promote week

The British Heart Foundation has defended its decision to use celebrity couple Neil and Christine Hamilton to front its first Heart Week fundraising campaign.

The disgraced ex-MP and his wife agreed to sit in a bath of strawberry jam to promote the 'Wear Red for Heart' campaign that runs from 7 to 15 June.

Although the couple have enjoyed a popularity renaissance in recent months, many will still remember Neil Hamilton's political career ending in disgrace for accepting cash from Harrods' boss Mohamed Al Fayed in return for asking questions in parliament.

The charity has a policy not to work with celebrities who may damage their reputation - but head of communications David Barker did not think this ruled out the Hamiltons.

"Of course we took past events into consideration, but decided that public perception of the couple had changed significantly in the past year," said Barker.

"At a very crude level, we want to get media coverage and the Hamiltons have moulded an image of themselves as a fun-loving couple who don't take themselves too seriously, which is perfect for promoting the light-hearted approach of this year's Heart Week."

Barker said the charity was also using comedian Graham Norton and athlete Roger Black to "balance out" its celebrity coverage.

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