Help a Hungry Child: Ian McKellen and Jon Hamm answer phone lines for The Independent's first charity telethon

Frank Lampard and Daisy Lowe also answer calls in 12-hour event to raise money for The Felix Project

Ed Cumming@EdCumming
Thursday 07 December 2017 13:52
Sir Ian McKellen at the Help a Hungry Child Telethon
Sir Ian McKellen at the Help a Hungry Child Telethon

Stars including Sir Ian McKellen, Jon Hamm, Frank Lampard and Daisy Lowe answered calls from readers for our 12-hour telethon.

From 8am to 8pm, celebrities joined staff from the London Evening Standard, Independent and the London Live TV station manning the phones in support of the Help A Hungry Child Christmas Appeal, which is raising money for The Felix Project.

An impressive £58,000 was raised during the day-long event. The first special guest this morning was American actor Hamm, best known as Don Draper in the hit TV series Mad Men.

“I heard about this at the [Evening Standard] theatre awards and I thought it was an excellent choice by the newspapers to co-ordinate a massive giving campaign,” he said.

“When I was asked to participate I was very happy to. Also, having been over here for the majority of the holiday season, I’ve been impressed by the British ability to rally round and help out people in need — reminds you of, as we say in the States, ‘the reason for the season’.”


Hamm was followed by English actress Charlotte Hope, known for her roles in Game Of Thrones and Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory Of Everything.

She said: “The second I heard about this appeal I wanted to help out. It’s outrageous that children are going hungry in London today.”

The Independent editor Christian Broughton with actor Ian McKellen

Sir Ian said he was “very happy to help” with the telethon. He added: “If you’ve ever walked past a homeless person and not given them money, you should be calling in to help The Felix Project.”

Also taking calls was actor David Morrissey, star of The Walking Dead, who has been a supporter of The Felix Project since learning about it during last year’s special investigation.

“I first came across the work of The Felix Project via Twitter,” he said.

“I thought they were a fantastic organisation doing something that is a simple idea but needs hard work and commitment from the many people involved to deliver vital food and supplies to those that need them.”

The first 100 callers to donate £30 or more received a pair of tickets to a top West End show, thanks to Ambassador Theatre Group. The first £30,000 raised will be match-funded by Alexander Lebedev, father of Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev.

Henry Holland and Daisy Lowe at the Help A Hungry Child Telefon
Frank Lampard at the Help a Hungry Child Telethon

The Felix Project’s vans collect surplus food from retailers and deliver it to frontline charities. For the Help A Hungry Child appeal they are focusing on primary schools, after figures found one in 10 parents worry about their children getting enough food.

On the phones this afternoon were former England footballer Lampard, model Lowe and fashion designer Henry Holland, plus columnists such as Emily Sheffield, Matthew D’Ancona, Rob Rinder and Sean O’Grady.

“We are so grateful to everyone for calling in today,” said Kristina Spindler, The Felix Project’s Head of Fundraising. “Every penny raised today will go towards ensuring no primary school child in London goes to bed hungry.”

Your questions answered:  

What is it?

This year funds raised by the Evening Standard Christmas Appeal will go to The Felix Project - to aid a new programme in primary schools to help channel food directly to those young children and their families who are in the greatest need.

What are we doing?

Ensuring that no child in any primary school supported by The Felix Project ever goes to bed hungry. At the end of the school day, children and their families will be guided to a welcoming Felix ‘market stall’ and be able to fill a Felix bag with a healthy and delicious selection of fruit and veg and other items to take home.


The programme will be established in 120 of London’s most deprived schools over the next 2 years, benefitting more than 50,000 children and their families. 

The Felix Project

The Felix Project is a London charity working with food suppliers and charities to reduce food surplus and food poverty. They collect food from supermarkets, wholesalers and other food suppliers – food that is fresh and nutritious, but cannot be sold for various reasons. They then deliver that food free of charge to people across London to those who need it the very most.

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