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Comic Relief: Some highlights of Red Nose Day across Leicester and Leicestershire


Red-nosed fund-raisers were out in force yesterday – taking part in activities ranging from spookathons and gigathons to sponsored head shaves and sleep-outs

Thousands of people across the county pushed the boat out for Comic Relief, aiming to raise cash for those less fortunate than themselves at home and abroad.

The 25th edition of Red Nose Day started early for staff at Leicester's Beaumont shopping centre, in Beaumont Leys, who organised a sleep out.

Centre manager Sarah Duffin and Subway manager Rachana Pancholi led the sponsored snooze, on Thursday night.

They were woken on Friday morning by a surprise visit from Olympic pole vaulter Holly Bleasdale, who dropped in to the shopping centre to support a 400-mile London to Paris exercise bike ride involving staff and visitors.

Sarah said: "It was a really tough challenge for Comic Relief this year but I put on my red nose and my pyjamas and braved the weather to sleep out.

"With Holly and our colleagues and shoppers joining in the cycle marathon, we've raised lots of money for Comic Relief.

"We're on target to raise more than £4,000."

Holly said: "I was delighted to lend my support to get shoppers to join in and raise money for Comic Relief. It's such a good cause."

Leicester Mercury staff entered into the spirit of the day by welcoming The Dreamettes, a Motown tribute group on a Comic Relief gigathon playing 30 venues around Leicester, including Ed's Easy Diner, in Highcross, and Leicester Market.

Ellie Toon, Carly Smith and Shillem O'Neill had staff bopping in the newsroom to Tina Turner's Proud Mary; Jackie Wilson's (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher and a rousing finale of I Want You Back, by the Jackson 5.

Ellie, 28, from Aylestone, Leicester, said: "It was strange performing during the day at offices and shopping centres rather than corporate evening dos where everyone's had a drink or two.

"But the reception we received everywhere we went was tremendous."

Shillem, 23, from Highfields, Leicester, said: "Our target is to raise £500 for Comic Relief from a collection and donations.

"It's been tiring but a lot of fun – and all for a worthwhile cause not only helping underprivileged people abroad but also her e in Leicestershire."

Carly, 24, from Blaby, said: "We've been wanting to do something for Comic Relief for a while."

Students and teachers at Guthlaxton College, Wigston, undertook a 24-hour cycle challenge for Red Nose Day using cycling machines in the school's gym.

Cyclists, including head teacher John Keller and deputy head Sally Cox, took turns in 15-minute slots to raise money through sponsorship and donations, finishing at 1pm yesterday.

Former pupil Manish Bhasin, presenter of BBC's Football League Show, also popped in to do a turn.

Mrs Cox said: "We're delighted so many staff members took up the gauntlet to participate in this worthwhile national day."

Manish said: "It was awesome walking down the corridors of my college to face current staff and students involved in such a tremendous effort to raise funds for this worthwhile cause."

Pupils at Shaftesbury Junior School, in Westcotes, Leicester, held a sponsored Gangnam dance in the school hall.

Teaching assistant Rajinder Kaur said: "It was really good. We had a lot of fun and there were plenty of smiles and laughter.

"We're on target to raise well over £400 for Comic Relief, which everyone is very happy about."

Volunteers wearing T-shirts celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Bridge housing advice and support charity, in Loughborough, took part in a madcap, fancy dress bed push around the town centre yesterday.

Josie Gillespie, housing services manager, said: "We wanted to support Comic Relief and the life-changing work it does and the bed push was a fun way of doing this."

Comic Relief: Some highlights of Red Nose Day across Leicester and Leicestershire

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