The on-the-night amount raised by the poverty relief charity Comic Relief’s flagship Red Nose Day fundraiser has fallen for the third consecutive appeal.
Friday’s Covid-19-affected telethon had generated about £52m by the end of the night, the charity said, which is more than £11m less than in 2019, the last time it was held.
It marks a downward trend for the biennial fundraising event – its end-of-night totals have fallen from a peak of £78m in 2015.
The charity said it would continue accepting donations over the next few weeks and thanked the public for its kindness and generosity so far.
Along with mental health, other key issues highlighted on the night were domestic abuse, food poverty, HIV and homelessness, with people supported by Comic Relief projects sharing their own experiences to help raise awareness and much-needed funds to help continue their work.
In addition, the charity said Red Nose Day donations would help tackle issues including homelessness, hunger, domestic abuse, and mental health problems, all of which have been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis, in the UK and around the world.
Sir Lenny Henry, co-founder of Comic Relief, said: “Red Nose Day was always going to be a bit different this year, but tonight we’ve been able to show just how powerful humour can be by raising an amazing sum of money that’ll help so many people in the UK and around the world.”
Two years ago, the charity became embroiled in a row with David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, following his accusation that the charity was "perpetuating an old idea from the colonial era" by sending white celebrities to film projects in Africa.
Comic Relief has since stopped the practice, with all African appeal films for Red Nose Day 2021 led by local filmmakers.