Comic Relief stars, past and present, reunited this week to mark 25 years of Red Nose Day and the 50 million lives that have been changed by the money raised.

Comic Relief founder Richard Curtis was joined by Emma Freud and Lenny Henry, alongside super celebrity supporters Ben Miller, Claudia Winkleman, David Baddiel, Dermot O'Leary, Frank Skinner, Helen Skelton, Jimmy Carr, Kate Thornton and Sanjeev Bhaskhar.

Two noticeable absentees from the celebrity line up were Red Nose Day stalwarts Jonathan Ross and Davina McCall who are currently marking the anniversary from a vaccination clinic in Accra, Ghana. The presenting duo spent the day doing live broadcasts into TV and radio programmes reporting on the progress that has been happening in Africa.

Thanks to the generosity of the British public since 1988 over £600 million has been raised through 13 Red Nose Days since 1988. That money has been helping to change lives across Africa, the UK and the world’s poorest countries.

Speaking in the UK, Richard Curtis commented: “From day one the money so generously donated by the UK public has been hard at work helping to create a just world free from poverty. These days Africa is a vastly different continent to the one I visited all those years ago. Six of the world’s fastest growing economies are in now in Africa. And major progress has been made in fighting diseases, increasing literacy rates and addressing injustice. But there’s still much to do, both in Africa and here in the UK. We must keep up the good work.”

From Ghana Davina McCall said: “A baby’s cry when it’s being vaccinated is the best sound you can hear. It’s the sound of a child’s life being saved. Thanks to the UK public you will have helped provide one million vaccines across Africa. Let’s keep up the good work.”

Jonathan Ross added: “This is the first time I’ve visited Comic Relief projects and it’s amazing to see the change the public’s money can have. The money you’ve given whether it’s a pound or more really has transformed lives. You should see your donation as an investment which works time and time again and ultimately we hope will enable people in Africa to become self-sufficient. Wouldn’t it be great if Red Nose Day didn’t need to celebrate its 50th birthday? Africa is changing not just through our money but because people in Africa are also making it happen.”

Thanks to the public, Comic Relief will have helped:

  • 3 million people affected by HIV in Africa
  • Provide 1 million vaccines in Africa and the world’s poorest countries
  • At least 7 million people living in urban poverty in slums in Africa and the world’s poorest countries
  • Assist over 1 million children in Africa and the world’s poorest countries to get an education
  • Prevent or cure blindness for more than 2.4 million people in Africa and the world’s poorest countries
  • 10 million people across the UK
  • Set up and funded the National Domestic Violence Helpline, which has received 1.2 million calls since it was set up in 2003
  • Support disabled people and their organisations to secure the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act enabling thousands of people to access services and to get real opportunities in the workplace and in education
  • Half a million people with mental health problems in the last five years alone

Red Nose Day is back on 15th March. Find out how to keep up the good work at www.rednoseday.com.

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