Red Nose Day in the UK is March 15, in 2013. In the run up to the day fund-raising events have been taking part across the UK. So what are you doing for Comic Relief 2013?
On July 13 1985 the first Live Aid concert was held. Sir Bob Geldof, of the Boomtown Rats, and Midge Ure, Ultravox, had the idea to host a charity concert in aid of those suffering in Ethiopia. Not just any old concert though. Two simultaneous concerts, one in London in the UK and one in the USA. Musicians were pestered by Geldof to perform for free. The event was going to be like no other concert,which was fitting as the Ethiopian famine was also breaking all records.
In 1985 in the UK we were becoming too familiar with images of starving men, women and children in Ethiopia. Terrible images of small children dying before life had truly begun. Live Aid and its associated charity raised millions in aid and continues to do. In the UK the money raised by musicians, by way of Live Aid, inspired other events and charities. Sport Relief and Comic Relief followed.
Comic Relief, also known as Red Nose Day, raises money for charity in fun and humorous ways. Every two years red noses go on sale. The design is tweaked a little so it is easy to spot a cheapskate, who is wearing as old model.
Fund raising begins well before the day and children in school, families, workers in shops, and more, come up with novel ways to raise money. Celebrities join in, making fools of themselves along the way. Well it is not called Comic Relief for nothing. The idea is "do something funny for money".
Comic Relief, was founded in 1985 by the comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis and British comedian Lenny Henry but it was Jane Tewson's idea. Jane is a well known charity worker. Since 1985 Comic Relief has raised a huge amount of money. Although the charity was founded to ease the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia and the Sudan, these days it is used for charitable causes in Africa and the UK..
The first Red Nose Day was in 1988, raising a staggering £15mil. In 2010 Comic Relief launched Sport Relief and both are now biennial events in the UK. On Friday, Red Nose Day, BBC television in the UK will air Comic Relief. It will be on air till around midnight. There will be a range of special shows. All of course will be made with more than a touch of humor. On air, on the night, there will be live challenges. Celebrities shaving their heads, comics kissing unlikely stars, dancing and singing newscasters, celebrity chefs performing the Full Monty and more, all in order to raise money.
In between the laughter there will be footage of children in need. Abused and beaten children, children acting as parents and leading a family, young kids working long hours and starving children. The footage is sobering.
After 25 years Comic Relief and Red Nose Day is not new but it is necessary. That fact is startling. For all our advances children still suffer. "Since 1985, Comic Relief has raised over £800 million to tackle poverty and social injustice across the UK, Africa and some of the world’s poorest countries". Hopefully on Friday it will raise a lot more.
So what are you doing for Red Nose Day?
Pope singer Jessie J shaved her head to raise money for comic relief. Yes we know her hair will grow back, and she is such a stunner that she was always going to pull it off, but nonetheless Kudos Jessie.
The total money raised is still variable, as funds raised on the night plus the last couple of weeks around the UK are counted.
1pm GMT the total is £75,000,000 plus. Way to go UK.
Report of events, at the BBC here