Entertainment & Arts

Helen Skelton: Presenter to leave Blue Peter

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Media captionThe presenter walked the 150m high-wire above Battersea Power Station in 11 minutes for Comic Relief in 2011

Helen Skelton has announced she is to leave Blue Peter after five years on the BBC children's show - and she is taking her dog with her.

After joining in the summer of 2008, the 30-year-old became known for her daring stunts, including kayaking down the Amazon.

Her departure comes after she was hired as a football presenter for BT Sport.

Radzi Chinyanganya, who co-hosts CBBC adventure series Wild, will replace her when she leaves in September.

He will join current host Barney Harwood in mid-October, together with the newly hired Lindsey Russell who was voted to be the show's 36th presenter by CBBC viewers last month.

Skelton announced that she, and her pet dog, would be leaving Blue Peter on Thursday's edition of the show. She would "always count my time on Blue Peter as one of the most special times of my life".

She added: "However Blue Peter is a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year job, and with so many exciting new projects in the pipeline, I can't be there as much as I would like, so I've made the difficult decision to hang up my badge."

CBBC controller Cheryl Taylor called Skelton "an outstanding presenter and a fabulously adventurous role model".

During her time on the programme, Skelton completed a number of gruelling challenges.

In 2009, she completed the 78-mile Namibia Ultra Marathon - making her only the second woman in the world to finish the run.

A year later, she became the first woman to kayak the entire length of the Amazon and, in 2011, walked between the chimneys of London's Battersea Power Station on a tightrope, suspended 66 metres above the ground.

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Media captionHelen Skelton: "It's good to quit while you're ahead"

Last year, she travelled 500 miles by ski and kite across Antarctica to the South Pole for Sport Relief.

For her final Blue Peter task, Skelton will attempt a Royal Marine challenge.

Despite her Blue Peter departure, the presenter will continue to front other BBC programmes including Countryfile and Holiday Hit Squad.

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