Sport Relief raises a record £51.2m - and that's not the final figure - News - TV & Radio - The Independent

Sport Relief raises a record £51.2m - and that's not the final figure

The BBC's spectacular fundraising marathon featured sporting stars and celebrities urging the public to donate to good causes

The BBC’s Sport Relief telethon, which included moving appeals and a comedy appearance by David Beckham, has raised a record-breaking £51.2 million – so far.

The fundraising marathon, which was hosted live from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London, beat the previous highest-on-the-night total of £50.4 million.

Kicked off at 7pm on Friday by presenters Gary Lineker and David Walliams, the programme featured a host of sporting stars and celebrities in sketches that encouraged the nation to get active and donate to good causes to help thousands of people both here in the UK and across the globe.

Former footballer Lineker tweeted: “Over £51 million. Wonderful night and a treat to work with such brilliant people in front and behind the camera. Thanks. #SportRelief2014."

And in a statement he added: “We have to thank the British public for their generosity and to everyone who has given their time to make it the best Sport Relief yet. It’s simply wonderful that Sport Relief continues to grow. The money raised will help change tens of thousands of lives at home and overseas.”

Highlights from the evening included a bespectacled David Beckham turning up in Peckham in a one-off Only Fools and Horses, which saw Del Boy (David Jason) and Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) reunited for the first time in over a decade, as they tried to sell pairs of Beckham’s boxer briefs.

Fans reacted positively to the hotly-anticipated moment on Twitter. @katielis1 tweeted: “David Beckham on Sport Relief = brilliant.”

And @5cottyg described the former England footballer’s performance as “absolute CLASS”.

Read more: Watch David Beckham make his Only Fools and Horses debut

There was a surprise reunion when Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan duetted on their 1988 smash hit Especially for You, which sold more than a million copies in the UK when it was first released.

The singers were joined on stage by comedian and co-presenter of the show Walliams who aimed his affections at Donovan.

He jokingly tweeted: "Oh what a night!!! The lovemaking afterwards with JDonOfficial was absolutely top-notch."

He later went on to present a special footballers' edition of Celebrity Mastermind, with Tottenham defender Michael Dawson, Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, and Fulham midfielder, Scott Parker.

The Olympic-themed show also featured former gold medallist Lord Sebastian Coe taking part in a Clash of the Titans battle against comedian John Bishop at the London velodrome.

Lord Coe and Bishop captained teams in a four-event challenge, including a cycling elimination, synchronised swimming and rhythmic gymnastics.

The teams included a mix of sports stars and celebrities such as cricketer Andrew Flintoff, boxer Nicola Adams, singer Olly Murs and radio hosts Nick Grimshaw and Richard Bacon.

Flintoff won the men's cycling elimination for Team Bishop at the velodrome despite taking a tumble and being knocked off his bike.

Four Paralympians - blind footballer David Clarke, wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft, former World Champion javelin thrower Nathan Stephens and sitting volleyball player Martine Wright - swapped their sports kit for sequins as they took their turn to impress the Strictly Come Dancing judges.

They danced to Katy Perry's "Firework", with Cockroft taking home the glitter ball trophy.

And Wimbledon champion Andy Murray smashed his dour-faced reputation when comics on Mock The Week served up a volley of gags at his expense during a Sport Relief special.

Read more: Andy Murray reveals a glimmer of personality

Famously clumsy comedian Miranda Hart led the nation in an aerobics work-out accompanied by boxer David Haye and former footballer David Ginola, while Coldplay performed their single "Magic".

Former X Factor winners Little Mix performed the official Sport Relief single, "Word Up", a cover of the 1986 hit by Cameo. They also presented a moving video of their visit to a hospital in Liberia where they saw children who are suffering from life threatening conditions from easily preventable diseases such as malaria.

The Government announced that it would cover the costs of the value-added tax on the Sport Relief single sales through funding from the Department for International Development, effectively giving back the VAT.

The biennial charity fund-raiser began in earnest before last night's live telethon with a number of celebrities having completed gruelling physical challenges to persuade people to donate.

On Thursday Radio 1 DJ Jo Whiley completed a 26-hour treadmill challenge, which ended with a £260,000 boost from supporters Coldplay.

Whiley had been in a perspex box outside Broadcasting House in London and was joined by a number of stars including celebrity cook Nigella Lawson.

In February, presenter Davina McCall undertook a gruelling triathlon that took her from Edinburgh to London in just seven days - collapsing with hypothermia along the way. She raised over £2.2 million from her challenge.

She said: "There were moments where it was amazing, really beautiful. Lake Windermere was my nemesis, but my hardest day was the first day bike ride. The wind coming in from Birmingham was the worst."

Read more: Davina: Beyond Breaking Point, review

Whiley and McCall were taking part in the BBC Radio Around the World for Sport Relief, in which figures from BBC Radio are attempting to run, swim and cycle 25,000 miles which is roughly equivalent to the distance around the equator.

Co-host of The One Show Alex Jones was seen scaling 1,200ft up the mighty Moonlight Buttress in Zion National Park, Utah, in a three-day ordeal which raised over £1.2 million for her challenge.

She told hosts Lineker and Walliams: "I had bitten off more than I could chew because when we started in the first hour I realised what was in front of me and I felt so small. I'm not a climber and it was just so hard. It was petrifying for three days."

The show also included stark reminders of families in need across Britain. Appeals came from athlete Denise Lewis, actor Martin Shaw, presenter Emma Willis, model Abbey Clancy and singer Cheryl Cole. Half of all Sport Relief's donations go towards helping over 2,000 projects in the UK.

And football fans were treated to the first airing of the England team's World Cup song, a cover version of Take That's "Greatest Day".

Gary Barlow and Lineker led a 20-strong group including pop stars Katy B, former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, Pixie Lott and Conor Maynard.

Footballers Peter Shilton, Michael Owen, Glenn Hoddle, Dion Dublin and Sir Geoff Hurst also took part.

All proceeds from the sale of the record will go to Sport Relief.

Additional reporting by Press Association

Read more: Shane Lynch's beard hogs attention during Boyzone performance
Team Seb Coe wins Clash of the Titans
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