TELEVISION presenter Lorraine Kelly has trekked across the desert, spent time with young carers in Arbroath and shared tears and smiles with poverty-stricken children in Peru, all for Comic Relief.
This year, Red Nose Day, on March 15, celebrates its 25th anniversary, and Lorraine tells ANN FOTHERINGHAM why she is urging Glasgow groups to apply for a share of the Evening Times' Red Nose Community Cash fund
TELEVISION presenter Lorraine Kelly has trekked across the desert, spent time with young carers in Arbroath and shared tears and smiles with poverty-stricken children in Peru, all for Comic Relief. This year, Red Nose Day, on March 15, celebrates its 25th anniversary, and Lorraine tells ANN FOTHERINGHAM why she is urging Glasgow groups to apply for a share of the Evening Times' Red Nose Community Cash fund
LIKE most other people in the UK, Lorraine Kelly cried with laughter when Dawn French, dressed in a copy of Elizabeth Hurley's famous safety pin dress, kissed Hugh Grant on TV.
Then she watched, horror-struck, as the Comic Relief charity brought the plight of children living in terrible circumstances in the UK and Africa into sudden focus.
As the fun-filled, emotional rollercoaster that is Red Nose Day celebrates its 25th anniversary, the Gorbals-born TV presenter, author and journalist says she has enjoyed every second.
"I remember watching the first one, when Lenny Henry got up and told us exactly why the money was needed," she recalls.
"Comic Relief was like nothing else we had ever seen – it was ground-breaking. It took us right to the heart of the places where the funds made a difference. That was why it was – and still is – so powerful.And what a response there has been over the years. The British public has raised so much money, it is incredible."
Comic Relief was launched on Christmas Day in 1985, live on BBC1.
A devastating famine was crippling Ethiopia and a host of celebrities, including screenwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry, wanted to help.
The idea was simple – Comic Relief would make the public laugh while they raised money to help people in desperate need.
Shortly afterwards, Red Nose Day was created and the first event in 1988 raised £15million.
Since then, Comic Relief has raised more than £600m and helped change lives in the UK and Africa.
Scottish celebrities, including actors James McAvoy, David Tennant, Ewan McGregor, Richard Wilson and author JK Rowling, have all supported the charity.
But few have gone quite as far as Lorraine, who trekked across the North Kenyan desert in blistering temperatures for the 2011 event.
She says: "I would do it again if they wanted me to.
"They draw you in – everyone from the top down is so committed to the charity, and so nice and enthusiastic that you just want to help."
A few years ago, Lorraine visited a project in Peru, helping to keep children away from the dangerous and dirty rubbish dumps on which they were forced to scavenge for food.
"It was heartbreaking," she recalls. "And for hardly any money at all – the price of a cup of coffee a day, for example, you or I could sponsor one of these children and help put a roof over their heads and send them to school – it's nothing to us and yet it means the world to them."
Closer to home, she spent time with young carers in Arbroath.
"Comic Relief's work in Scotland and the rest of the UK is just as important as its projects in Africa," she says.
"That's why the Red Nose Community Cash campaign is so fantastic. Small grants help to plug the funding gaps and there are so many groups that are doing good work in Glasgow."
The Evening Times has teamed up with Comic Relief and Foundation Scotland to distribute a £50,000 Red Nose Day cash fund to those who need it most.
To be eligible, your group must be working in a disadvantaged or deprived area in Glasgow, be properly constituted and have had an income of less than £100,000 (in the last year).
Grants of £500 to £1000 are available. To apply, see:
And don't forget to do something funny for money on Red Nose Day.