Sport Relief raises record £50m


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The Independent Culture

The Sport Relief fundraising extravaganza has raised a record on-the-night total of £50 million.

The figure was announced at the end of the charity marathon at 1.30am.

Host Fearne Cotton said: "What an amazing, stunning total. We always hope to beat the previous amount, but to do it so spectacularly is just incredible.

"Huge thanks to the British public who, once again, have shown enormous generosity to help those in need."

The total sum was confirmed as £50,447,197 which was £21 million more than the amount raised last year.

The star-studded BBC show featured comic sketches with athletes and feats of endurance from celebrities.

Comic Miranda Hart battled Tim Henman in a tennis game that ended when she was 'knocked out' by her on-screen mother Patricia Hodge, while a one-off special of sitcom Outnumbered featured Frank Lampard and Christine Bleakley in an encounter with the Brockman family.

England footballers Rob Green, Glen Johnson, Theo Walcott and current captain Scott Parker took on Saturday Kitchen presenter and celebrity chef James Martin in a special edition of the BBC One show's Omelette Challenge, with defender Johnson emerging as the winner - despite a few broken shells.

And fashion-mad duo Edina and Patsy also made a return to the small screen with a one-off special of Absolutely Fabulous, with Kate Moss, Stella McCartney, Linford Christie and Colin Jackson all putting in cameos in the sitcom.

Comedian Frank Skinner overcame a lifelong phobia of water by swimming 25 metres to raise money for Sport Relief.

Skinner underwent eight weeks of physical and psychological training in order to finish the swim, which he completed despite what he described as "one of my little panics".

He said: "Towards the end I had one of my little panics that I often have - but I could hear the crowd and I just thought 'no, no, I can't stop now' and I kept going. I was half drowning, half choking - it was a good advert for terror."

After completing the challenge, Skinner said: "I'm absolutely knocked out. I'm so relieved and excited. I lay in bed last night thinking about all the different ways I wouldn't finish that length. I want someone to learn to swim because of this. I know it looked really tough and frightening but I've had a good laugh and it will stay with me forever."

Other appearances included the stars of ITV comedy Benidorm on a special edition of Britain's Got Talent and a performance from boyband JLS.

The UK Government will match £10 million of public donations to Sport Relief, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced last night.