Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Saturday, 28 February 2009

Celebrity climbers reach Africa

Chris Moyles, Ronan Keating and Gary Barlow on board the flight to Tanzania
Ronan Keating caught the flight "just in time"

Comic Relief's celebrity climbers have arrived in Africa as they prepare to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

The nine-strong group, including Girls Aloud's Cheryl Cole and Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles, are raising cash for this year's Red Nose Day Campaign.

Singer Ronan Keating nearly missed the flight to Tanzania.

The Boyzone star had to be personally driven across Heathrow Airport's tarmac after his connection from Dublin was delayed by an hour and a half.

The celebrity BT Red Nose Climb team boarded a Kenya Airways flight on Friday evening for their 10-day expedition.

Short straw

A Comic Relief spokeswoman said: "Ronan nearly didn't make it; it was touch and go.

"His flight from Dublin was delayed and once he did arrive at Heathrow he had to be driven over to the plane. Luckily he was just in time."

Gary Barlow, 38, singer
Chris Moyles, 34, broadcaster
Alesha Dixon, 30, singer
Denise Van Outen, 34, actress
Fearne Cotton, 27, presenter
Ben Shephard, 34, presenter
Kimberley Walsh, 27, singer
Cheryl Cole, 25, singer
Ronan Keating, 31, singer

Before boarding the plane, Barlow said: "We've been planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for so long, it's only now that it's really dawned on me just how tough this could be.

"Worse still, I've drawn the short straw so I get to sit next to Moyles for nearly nine hours."

The singer suffered muscle spasms while training and was ordered by doctors to rest completely for two weeks running up to the trip.

More than 460,000 has been raised so far - and the BBC Radio 1 audience raised 180,000 via text donations on Friday.

Lip gloss

TV presenter Fearne Cotton has been using micro-blogging service Twitter to talk about her preparations for the climb.

She said she was nervous about the trip but was expecting it to be a laugh because of the "great team".

Chris Moyles, Denise Van Outen, Fearne Cotton, Cheryl Cole and Gary Barlow pose before boarding their flight to Tanzania
The nose of the plane was painted red for the occasion

Alesha Dixon is clear about what will get her through the climb: "I have to have music, I have to have Minstrels and I have to have some lip gloss."

The team is aiming to raise 1 million for malaria treatment in Tanzania, where Kilimanjaro sits.

Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles said he was feeling fit enough to sprint the last two couple of miles and is looking forward to the climb.

"I'm going to do it for every fat man, every unfit person, every woman, I'm doing it all for you." he told Radio 1's Newsbeat.

"Forget the kids in Africa." he added "They get the money. But as far as the inspiration goes, it's all for you."

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