Sport Relief total bounces back slightly from two years ago

This year’s Sport Relief raised an on-the-night total of £40.5m, up from the 2018 total of £38.2m but still a significant fall from the event’s high point in 2016.

Comic Relief, which runs the biennial Sport Relief event, has announced that the total raised on Friday night stood at £40,540,355, although that total will rise as funds raised by individuals continue to come in.

Although the figure has bounced back from the £38.2m raised on the night at the last Sport Relief event two years ago, it is still far below the record £55.4m on-the-night total raised by the 2016 event. 

The final total for Sport Relief 2018 was £42.8m, while in 2016 it came to £72.5m.

In a statement, Comic Relief said some of the money raised would go towards helping those in the UK and around the world who were hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

As well as the money raised through the BBC's live television show, the on-the-night total includes funds raised in the run-up to the event.

A team of celebrities, including Nick Grimshaw, Louise Minchin, Rob Rinder and Krishnan Guru-Murthy trekked 100 miles across the Namib desert over four days, raising £1m. In addition, Sainsbury’s supermarket raised £4m through staff fundraising and selling official merchandise, the pharmaceutical company GSK donated £3.3m to fight malaria and British Airways raised £3m through colleague fundraising and passenger donations.

The Department for International Development committed to match funding £6m of public donations, the Youth Endowment Fund donated 2:1 match funding of £4m and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed to match funding £1.6m.

Ruth Davison, deputy chief executive of Comic Relief, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the wonderful, generous people who have helped raise this unbelievable amount of money.

“During the challenging months ahead, we want to ensure the donations raised help as many people as possible.

“Sport Relief is committed to helping vital projects all across the UK and internationally, including those facing an increasing demand on services from people who need extra support because of coronavirus.”

Last year’s Red Nose Day telethon event, also run by Comic Relief, raised £63.5m by the end of the night, compared with end-of-night totals of £71m in 2017 and £78m in 2015.

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