Sport Relief raises on-the-night record £50m

Helen Skelton
Image caption Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton was one of those offering support backstage at this year's Sport Relief

Sport Relief has raised £50m in public donations, a new on-the-night record for the charity telethon.

Stars of sport and entertainment came together for the BBC show and helped raised £50,447,197.

This sum is ahead of further fundraising on Sunday, when about one million people are expected to run theSport Relief mile.

The money raised will be spent by the Comic Relief charity in the UK and the world's poorest countries.

And International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell announced on Friday that the UK government will match £10m of public donations made to Sport Relief.

Friday's show featured special sketches with guest appearances.

The Absolutely Fabulous show returned with aSport Relieftwist, with guest stars that included Kate Moss, Stella McCartney, Emma Bunton, boxer David Haye, and former athletes Linford Christie and Colin Jackson.

There was an Outnumbered special featuring Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard and his fiancee Christine Bleakley, while comedian Miranda Hart played a game of tennis at the Royal Albert Hall.

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 BBC1 show's Omelette Challenge. It was won by Johnson after Green was given a red card in the final for turning off his rival's gas hob.

The weekend of activities for Sport Relief follows several high-profile charity events which pushed some TV favourites to the limit.

Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton completed a gruelling 500-mile expedition across Antarctica to reach the South Pole.

Comedian John Bishop endured a sporting "week of hell" which saw him cycle, row and run the 290 miles between Paris and London.

And last September comedian David Walliams swam 140 miles along the lenghth of the River Thames. During the live show, it was revealed that his feat had raised a total of £2,501,240 towards the Sport Relief total.

On the day of the Sport Relief TV show, another comedian took on a swimming challenge, on a somewhat smaller scale.

Frank Skinner overcame a lifelong phobia of water by swimming 25 metres after eight weeks of physical and psychological training.

Among the highlights of the TV show was a special edition of Strictly Come Dancing in which the competing couples performed their dance moves underwater.

The stars of ITV comedy Benidorm were shown auditioning on a special edition of Britain's Got Talent and boy band JLS performed their official Sport Relief single, the night before they join other acts at a special matinee concert at London's O2 Arena.

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

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