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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Botham walk raises close to 1m
Charlotte Church, Ian Botham and Catherine Zeta Jones
Made it: The three celebrities helped raise 1m
Organisers of the hugely successful Ian Botham walk round Wales for the Noah's Ark Appeal have revealed that donations have topped 850,000.

Botham's efforts could eventually secure up to 1m towards the appeal for a children's hospital for Wales.

The marathon 229-mile trek last month by the former England cricketing star drew support from Hollywood star Catherine Zeta Jones teenage singer Charlotte Church and other sporting celebrities.
Ian Botham finishes his fundraising walk in Cardiff
Botham finished his 229-mile walk in good spirits

Appeal director Suzanne Mainwaring said: "Support for the walk from people across Wales was almost unbelievable.

"Tesco has contributed 103,000 as part of the 500,000 they are raising for a ward in the new hospital.

"The Lord Mayor of Cardiff made a cross party donation of 250,000.

"This all means that the appeal stands today at 4.4m."

She explained that allowing for administrative cost deductions, the appeal now needs 1m more to reach its target figure of 5m for the first phase of the 21m hospital.

'Mind-blowing'

Botham had originally aimed to raise 250,000 for the appeal, towards their target of 5m for the first phase of a proposed 21m children's hospital.

The cricketer paid tribute to the "mind-blowing" generosity of the Welsh people, who had given him up to 100,000 on each day of his walk for the cause.

He was greeted by crowds of well-wishers - many brandishing large cheques - ever since he set off from Machynlleth, mid Wales, on Friday 19 April. "My second grandchild was born here in Wales," he said.

"I actually did not know that there was not already a children's hospital in Wales.

"Wales is one of the most modern countries in Europe and it is without this basic facility."

Catherine Zeta Jones and Charlotte Church
The celebrity walkers brought out the sunshine

Botham and his team said the strength of public support had been the driving force behind their mission, which in turn has delighted the hospital campaigners.

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