Amanda Holden shares centre stage with Pudding the puppy at charity trading day

Since its inception, Charity Day has raised approximately 192 million dollars (£176 million) globally.

Ellie Iorizzo
Thursday 29 September 2022 13:54 BST
Amanda Holden during the BGC annual charity day at Canary Wharf in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Amanda Holden during the BGC annual charity day at Canary Wharf in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Amanda Holden cradled a puppy as she picked up the phone at a charity event to honour those killed in the September 11 attacks.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge, 51, carried around the bundle of joy named Pudding until he fell asleep in her arms while she attended as an ambassador for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

Celebrities returned to the annual event at brokerage firm BGC Partners on Thursday to raise millions of pounds in memory of the 658 BGC employees and 61 Eurobrokers employees who died during the attacks in 2001.

Holden told the PA news agency she loved Charity Day because of the “banter”.

She said: “Today is a fun day, I have got no clue what I am talking about but apparently we have raised a good amount of money already.

“I’m only nervous because I can’t hear because everyone shouts and you just think ‘God how can these people actually do their job because everyone is shouting’ – it’s really noisy but they are always up for a laugh.

“I love it because there is a lot of banter and that’s very me. I just bumped into my lovely Davina McCall so that’s made my day.”

The radio presenter added that it is an “amazing day” to celebrate and raise money for her charity, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.

“I have been an ambassador for 10 years, probably more, and I think in this climate, any way we can raise a few extra pennies is going to be a good thing,” she added.

Good Morning Britain presenter Ben Shephard also attended to support Haven House, alongside some of the children that benefit from the services the charity offers.

He told PA: “There is such a fabulous atmosphere, it feels fertile, it feels like there is exciting things going on and there’s loads of trades happening and the more trades that happen the more money the charities are going to get.

“I’m just really worried about cocking it up because I have got absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I just think I’m going to get the words wrong, I’m great with an autocue, I’m useless if I’ve got to try and make it up off the top of my head.”

The TV presenter, 47, described Haven House as an “extraordinary, magical place” and a charity that is “really close to my heart”.

“I grew up in the area, I was there and around the house before it even became a children’s hospice, it was a run-down, derelict building and we used to play in the gardens because it was right next door to my rugby club.

“I had so much joy and fun in the gardens as a kid growing up and what is lovely now when you go there is to see the joy and the fun that the children are having who really need it.

“A hospice for children with life-limiting or terminal illnesses could be a really sad place but it is anything but. It is so full of colour and energy.

“So to be here supporting them, knowing that the money we are raising will make a huge difference – donations are down because of the cost-of-living crisis, energy bills are sky-rocketing… so days like today have become even more crucial.

“I grew up in the area and every time I go back or get to go to the house or do days like this and meet the kids it just fills my heart with joy and optimism and hope, which is something we could all do with right now. It’s a shot in the arm, just what we need in pretty divisive times.”

Former England football manager Sam Allardyce, who was supporting Muscular Dystrophy UK, said he was a Charity Day “veteran” having returned many times over the years.

He said: “I think coming here has always been quite exciting. I was at West Ham when I first came as manager because it was only down the road… but since I’ve moved to many places across the country I still take the time to come down because the day is electric, the cause is fantastic and the lads on the floor… it’s a great day to raise money.

“Most of these lads like football, they are good about talking about who they support and what they do.

“I think the in-thing at the minute is how are we going to do in the World Cup, that’s the big topic as England have had a pretty rough time in the summer, that’s a big talking point but I’m sure Gareth (Southgate) and the boys will be OK.”

Former England footballer Rio Ferdinand and TV presenters Davina McCall and Laura Whitmore were also among the stars who picked up the phone at the charity event on Thursday.

Ferdinand, who was supporting charity Wellbeing Of Women, commented on the importance of raising money, particularly during the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: “The economic crisis at the moment, people are struggling, even just to get food on the table, heating, we’re coming into the winter months as well.

“So anything you can do for charity is going to help people being very much squeezed at the moment. I think it’s definitely worthwhile.”

His comments come a day after the Bank of England launched an emergency UK government bond-buying programme to prevent borrowing costs from spiralling out of control and stave off a “material risk to UK financial stability”.

Since its launch in 2004, BGC and its celebrity ambassadors have raised around 192 million dollars (£176 million) for global charitable causes.

Sadie Frost was another celebrity who returned to the trading room floor, supporting late actress Helen McCrory and Damian Lewis’s charity HVH Arts, which offers young people a “gateway to the arts”.

She told PA: “I am from the Camden area, I grew up where this charity is based, it’s HVH Arts set up by Helen McCrory and Damian Lewis, I am one of the patrons, I have been involved for quite a long time.

“When I was young I got the opportunity to go to dance school… I just feel that everybody should have the opportunity to do what they want and I think this charity really supports young people who want to get involved in music, photography, film, fashion.

“It is a really consistent charity and that is what I like about it. I have worked with a lot of different charities but this one I feel is very hands on, consistent and really changes lives.”

Speaking about the importance of raising money during the cost-of-living crisis, the 57-year-old said it is a “really important time, more than ever”.

All profits from trades are donated to good causes including the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund and dozens of other charities around the world.

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