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Saturday, March 13, 1999 Published at 18:22 GMT


Record Red Nose Day

Host of celebrities backed Comic Relief

The organisers of this year's Red Nose appeal are laughing all the way to the bank after Friday's country-wide fund-raising events.

Alva McNicol reports: A night of laughter and fund-raising
The charity, Comic Relief, hailed the event as a huge success.

An impressive £16m had been pledged by late Saturday afternoon.

The fund-raising effort was boosted by a six-hour broadcast on BBC Television. It comfortably surpassed the previous record set in 1997 of £11.6 million.

EastEnder Paul Bradley with a Comic Relief Thought for the Day
It is hoped the final figure will exceed £30m, beating the previous total record figure of £27m raised in 1997.

The television fund-raising extravaganza featured everything from pop songs, comedy and a record-breaking attempt to show the biggest number of naked people on television at one time - 101.

All Saints, Ewan McGregor and Geri Halliwell were among the long list of stars lining up to support the cause.

Red Noses everywhere

As ever, millions of Britons donned Red Noses. This year's model is being hailed as a breakthrough - because it honks when squeezed.

More than four million noses were made for this year's fund-raiser. Demand for them was so great that some places ran out.

[ image: Mayo: Record broadcast]
Mayo: Record broadcast
As part of the fund-raising events across the country, BBC Radio 1 DJ Simon Mayo broke the world record for the longest radio broadcast. He spent 37 hours on air in a special programme for Comic Relief.

He may also have broken the record for the longest simultaneous Webcast as the entire show was broadcast live over the Internet.

Funds for Africa and UK

Geri Halliwell talks about her trip to Uganda
Underneath the laughter there was a very serious purpose. Two thirds of the money raised will go to helping people in Africa.

The remainder of the money will go to British charities, helping those who are homeless and have problems with drink and drugs.

A Comic Relief spokesman said: "We are very grateful for the amount the British public has generously donated and are issuing a huge big thank you for making this a record-breaking total and a record-breaking night."

The charity has raised £139 million since it started in 1985.

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Comic Relief 1999

Red Nose Day: beeb @ the BBC

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