Dara O'Briain, Melanie C, Jack Dee, Chelsee Healey, Phillips Idowu and Greg James yesterday started day two of the biggest challenge of their lives, The BT Red Nose Challenge: Hell and High Water – a five day ordeal which sees them attempt to travel under their own steam down Africa’s mighty Zambezi river and raise as much cash as possible for Red Nose Day.
The challenge is sponsored by BT, a long term supporter of Comic Relief challenges since 2009.
The team found themselves struck by catastrophe as Dara O’Briain and Phillips Idowu went down the wrong white water rapid. The twosome had to think quick as Dara came out of the boat and desperately clung onto a tree for almost an hour whilst Phillips got caught in the bushes before both being rescued. Although the guides never lost sight of the pair, the rest of the team were unaware of their whereabouts and began to fear the worst.
Greg said: “I’m a bit shaken today, it was a lot more serious. We went on some rapids with two people per canoe and it all went horribly wrong! We actually lost Dara and Phillips – the rapid was so fierce and fast moving that they got taken down a different channel of the river to the rest of us, into a different area with loads of different rapids, and had to try to stop themselves and hold off in a calm area. They were away for an hour, the guides could see them but we had no idea where they were!”
Dara and Phillips weren’t the only ones who found themselves in a spot of challenge trouble. Melanie C and Jack Dee also encountered drama this morning when their boat capsized and they got
trapped underneath. The duo had to be rescued by guides as their boat and paddles wrapped around a tree.
Soon after the incident, Jack said: “We’ve lost our boat, it’s wrapped around the tree we hit. My helmet is covered in scratches. Luckily I’m not very bright so it’s not a problem, but we could have been properly bashed up. I’m going to have to stop doing these things; I don’t know why Comic Relief hate me so much. They’re doing their best to do me in out here.”
Despite a scary morning, the six strong team will continue to push themselves to the limit as they travel 111km down the deadly Zambezi river, battling torrential downpours and negotiating rapids officially known as ‘Gnashing Jaws of Death’, ‘The Washing Machine’ and ‘Oblivion’ as they make their way beyond the world’s largest waterfall – Victoria Falls.
Along the way they’re likely to encounter some of the world’s most dangerous and frightening creatures, like crocodiles, lethal snakes and one of the most deadly – hippos! By night there will be none of the five star luxury they’re used to, as they’ll be camping on treacherous cliff tops and damp, soggy riverbanks. And as if that wasn’t enough, they’re also likely to suffer nasty blisters, intense aching limbs and sweltering 30-degree heat, as they spend each day covering up to 29km on the river.
The team are putting themselves through hell and high water in the hope of raising £1 million to help children in Zambia go to school. This could pay for life-changing education for thousands of vulnerable girls, for whom it means an escape from poverty and safety from child marriage and pregnancy. Any extra money raised will help those living unimaginably tough lives across the UK and the rest of Africa.
BT is giving £30,000 a day to support the Hell and High Water team as part of the £500,000 it has committed to raise in support of The BT Red Nose Challenges – a duo of celebrity challenges sponsored by BT for Red Nose Day 2013.
To help the stars raise stacks of cash, sponsor them now at rednoseday.com/zambezi.