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Saturday, March 13, 1999 Published at 00:37 GMT


Record Red Nose Day

A Ginger production: Chris Evans and Geri Halliwell

BBC Radio 1 DJ Simon Mayo has broken the world record for the longest radio broadcast, with 37 hours on air in a special programme for Comic Relief.

The countdown to Simon Mayo's record
He may also have broken the record for the longest simultaneous Webcast as the entire show was broadcast live over the Internet.

A host of celebrities were taking part in Friday's Red Nose Day with the intention of setting a new record every 45 minutes.

Lenny Henry outlines plans for the celebrity show
Comic Relief organisers are hoping that the most important of these will be a new record for the most money raised - beating the £27m donated two years ago.

Organisers also hope to set the record for the most money raised over the Internet.

The seventh Red Nose Day ended with pledges totalling £13,654,281.17 by the end of BBC One's six-and-a-half hour charity fundraiser.

The biennial appeal - to raise money for the vulnerable and disadvantaged in the UK and Africa - came to a head on Friday night.

[ image: Starting his marathon broadcast]
Starting his marathon broadcast
Simon Mayo's attempt set the ball rolling began at 0900 GMT on Thursday as part of Red Nose Day - a marathon charity fundraising effort held every two years - and a new record was set at 2200 GMT on Friday.

Final confirmation, which is likely to place the record at slightly over 37 hours, is down to the Guinness Book of Records.

But a representative for Guinness who was present in the studio at 2200 GMT stuck his neck out and declared: "It's a new record."

[ image: Lenny Henry: One of the founders of Comic Relief]
Lenny Henry: One of the founders of Comic Relief
Mayo said that the toughest time was at 0700 on Friday morning when "I constantly felt like being sick".

He said the high points were sharing the studio with veteran DJ John Peel and Mark and Lard's afternoon show.

"I've especially enjoyed the last hour-and-a-half, because that's when I realised we could really do it," he said as his attempt came to an end.

[ image: Mariella Frostrup, Davina McCall, Emma Freud and Geri Halliwell (clockwise) launch the appeal]
Mariella Frostrup, Davina McCall, Emma Freud and Geri Halliwell (clockwise) launch the appeal
"And it was my idea - that's how stupid I am."

The event was supported by record companies, who donated £100 for each hour to Comic Relief to have their songs played by Mayo.

Many of the other record-breaking attempts relate to red noses, with the highest being on East Midlands Airport's 51m-tall air traffic control tower and the biggest created from red cards held up by 400 students and staff at Heriot-Watt University.

Geri Halliwell talks about her trip to Uganda
Over four million of the charity's squeaking red noses have already been sold at shops across the UK.

Events arranged for Comic Relief brought together Hollywood stars and British celebrities, as well as personalities from the BBC and its commercial competitors.

There were also reports on how Comic Relief money is helping the needy, including former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell's trip to Uganda to visit a literacy camp for women.

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