Red Nose Day raises £74.3m so far for Comic Relief

The sum is almost £20m more than the amount raised at the same stage two years ago

Comic Relief fundraising
Comic Relief fundraising

Comic Relief raised a record £74.3m by the end of last Friday for its Red Nose Day 2011.

The biennial campaign raises money to help poor and vulnerable people in the UK and Africa.

In 2009 the campaign had raised £54.7m at the same stage.The record amount raised after all fundraising had been taken into account was £82.3m

A spokeswoman for Comic Relief said it would not know this year’s final figure until September or October.

The total so far includes £1.37m raised by the nine celebrities who trekked across the Kaisut Desert in northern Kenya and £10m raised by the retailer Sainsbury’s – the biggest ever single donation received on the night of Red Nose Day. The Sainsbury’s donation came through a variety of sources, including the sale of red noses and donations from items sold in Sainsbury’s stores.

The government also gave £10m to support the charity’s work in improving health and education across Africa.

More than 700,000 calls were made to the donation line during the campaign’s live TV show, peaking at 268 calls per second at 9.50pm. A spokeswoman said Comic Relief would not release the figure donated by people on the night.

Kevin Cahill, chief executive of Comic Relief, said it was in awe of the generosity of the British public.

"At a time when global problems are dominating the headlines and people are struggling at home, the results are quite remarkable," he said.

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