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comic_relief_knighthood
On June 12, a knighthood was announced for comedian and co-founder of Comic Relief, Lenny Henry, in Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Honors for his services to drama and charity.

Henry has been involved in several causes to benefit AIDS & HIV research, disaster relief, poverty, human rights and health. In addition, he has worked with Red Nose Day for Comic Relief for almost thirty years. He is also noted as a Comic Relief Trustee and earned a CBE from the Queen in 1999.

The comedian has helped break Comic Relief fundraising records with his campaigns for greater diversity in the United Kingdom. Henry said that he wanted to dedicate this honor to the people who have donated to Comic Relief since he has been involved.

“Every person who has helped us raise one billion euros, and for everyone who works at Comic Relief, this is for you, too,” Henry said.

According to Comic Relief, Henry is admired greatly by the British population and has helped decrease racism in the United Kingdom.

“Lenny is one of Britain’s best known and best loved personalities who has had a crucial influence on the creation of black-centered comedy and characters,” Comic Relief said.

The charity added that he is seen as a figurehead for Comic Relief, claiming that the success of the charity would not be possible without the support of celebrity friends like Henry. The Chief Executive of Comic Relief, Kevin Cahill, said that Henry is very closely associated with Comic Relief. He said that Henry seems determined to raise money and create change to end extreme poverty.

“You can’t think of Comic Relief without thinking of Lenny Henry,” Cahill said. “Everyone at Comic Relief is incredibly proud that Lenny’s work as an entertainer and passionate worker for charity [is] being recognized, and we congratulate him on his knighthood.”

Comic Relief is an organization that seeks to improve disease, mental health stigmas, sexual trafficking and exploitation, domestic violence, education and more. With Comic Relief’s help, more than one million children in developing countries have an education. Additionally, three million people who were affected with HIV in Africa have received aid from Comic Relief, and more than six million African people were protected from Malaria.

Henry has helped organize many of the life-saving tactics provided by Comic Relief, henceforth receiving the great honor from the Queen. Henry said that this accomplishment is an incredible achievement.

“It is a wonderful thing. My family [is] absolutely chuffed and my friends have not stopped congratulating me. I’d like the thank everyone for being so generous and so kind. It is an extraordinary thing, and I am absolutely thrilled,” Henry said.

The Queen’s Birthday Honors are given to those who have achieved prestigious and amazing success for the betterment of the country. Many of this year’s Knighthoods have been given to doctors of science, medicine and education, and Henry is one of 29 Knights Bachelor recipients.

Henry is very devoted to Comic Relief and thanks everyone who has helped.

“This is not just for me, this is for everyone who has done something for Comic Relief,” he said.

For more information about Henry’s work with Comic Relief, visit the charity’s website. For additional information about The Queen’s Birthday Honors, visit gov.uk.

Fallon Lineberger

Sources: Comic Relief, Comic Relief, Comic Relief, Comic Relief, Look to the Stars, UK Government 1, UK Government 2
Photo: Mirror

Comic_Relief_UK
Laughter is fr universal language, and comedy is a much broader medium, than given credit for. Laughing is disarming, warm, enjoyable, and can help unite people. It isn’t a stretch to imagine that comedy can also connect and rally people to fight intractable problems. Humor can indeed be a powerful weapon against the scourge of something like global poverty and the absences of technology and education in communities. This is the very idea behind Comic Relief, an organization operating in the United Kingdom and abroad that stands up to poverty.

Existing officially as both a company and charity in the UK, Comic Relief began in 1985 during Christmas season at a Sudanese refugee camp. Renowned and well-meaning British comedians hoped to raise awareness of the Sudanese plight and the Ethiopian famine going on. The success of that first event spawned more live comedic appearances in Sudan and gave way to Red Nose Day in 1988, which brought much needed attention and money to the region that went directly to relief. Since that time, Comic Relief has grown in size and scope, spreading laughter and awareness of numerous other initiatives.

One of those other initiatives is Send My Friend to School (http://www.sendmyfriend.org/), a nonprofit movement in the UK working to make the Millennium Development Goal of education for all children a reality by 2015. A member of the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), the initiative boasts UK membership of over 10,000 schools and youth groups. Another initiative Comic Relief supports is the intrepid See Africa Differently (http://www.seeafricadifferently.com/) campaign, aimed at changing the world’s perception of the continent and sharing stories of real people there that aren’t covered in major news. For example, the London art scene has recently been enthralled with the works of West African artists.

A very personal and striking account of Comic Relief in action is the story of teen sisters Hazel and Hiayisani in Tembisa, South Africa. Orphaned after their mother’s sudden illness and death, older sister Hazel was now in the position of caring for herself and her sister. Poor and completely exposed to the worst of society, they were at risk of being split up by Social Services, falling into a life of crime or the world of sexual slavery. However, after finding the Bishop Simeon Trust, a Comic Relief partner in Tembisa, the girls were able to join other orphans. They now receive a stipend and care packages from the trust to live on, free education, and enjoy time at the Bishop Simeon facility with other teenagers.

Comic Relief is best known for its initial and ongoing fundraiser, Red Nose Day. Happening every few years, this international event is celebrated mainly in the UK and Africa. For those who participate, the objective is to put on a red nose and be ridiculous. Proceeds from the event go directly to initiatives like the ones mentioned above, aimed at education and the changing of negative international typecasts.

Comic Relief has shown that maybe laughter is the best medicine for social ails.

David Smith
Sources: Comic Relief –History, Send My Friend –About, West African Art Pops Up in London, Comic Relief –Hazel and Hiayisani, Africa, Red Nose Day –What Is It?
Photo: BBC

 

red_nose_day

Raising money and awareness can be fun! Or at least this is the motto of the individuals committed to Comic Relief-a UK based organization working to create a just world free from poverty through their funny antics.  The biggest annual event is Red Nose Day. This telethon boasts the trademark of red noses and includes stand-up comics and all sorts of funny acts to raise awareness and money for the organization.

The Fun*Raisers include well-known celebrities and even Miss Piggy in the day long event. Each Fun*Raiser has a speciality such as dress-up, bake, sell, challenge, entertain, and dare.  They offer tips and advice for hosting an event.  Schools, organizations, and individuals all across the UK participate in Red Nose Day.  The website- http://www.rednoseday.com/– has some amazing resources and ideas for fundraising in general.

This past Red Nose Day was held March 15 and the fundraising total is currently at $141 million USD with funds still being collected.  The funds raised go to support UK charities giving shelter to young people and protection to those living with domestic abuse. In addition,  funds go to Africa to provide clean water and life-saving vaccines.  The organization is working hard to ignite change throughout the UK and across Africa.

Red Nose Day helps to bring awareness to their mission through a very simple object-a red clown nose.  By wearing one, individuals are identified with a cause and the day is devoted to raising money and having fun in the process.  The website has games and funny ideas and stories of how thankful individuals are for the help they have received from the organization.  Keep an eye out for next year’s Red Nose Day and find out how to get involved here.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: Red Nose Day
Photo: Sony Music

red nose day
Friday, March 15, 2013 was best spent celebrating Red Nose Day by sitting in front of the television watching Comic Relief – Funny for Money on BBC One. The show was full of comical sketches, musical performances, and celebrity appearances all to help raise money for Comic Relief, an organization working to make the world poverty free. It definitely resulted in a great deal of laughter, which is the point of Red Nose Day, which promotes “having fun and changing lives” as one of its main goals.

Red Nose Day is a day for everyone “to put on their Noses, pull out all the stops, and get fundraising,” according to the official Red Nose Day website. Literally, on Red Nose Day everyone puts on red noses and clowns around, eliciting laughter and donations. Celebrity support of the day came from an array of celebrities – from Rihanna, who donned a Stella McCartney red nose t-shirt, to Ron Burgundy of Anchorman, who performed in one of the comical sketches. And, of course, One Direction, a big supporter of the Comic Relief organization, made an appearance, performing their hit song, and the official Red Nose Day single, One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks). Yet, one celebrity stood above the rest, Jessie J, a panelist for the show The Voice. On live television, Jessie J sacrificed her lustrous black bob in order to boost the amount of money raised, all of which is going to Comic Relief. After shaving her head she said, “It is the weirdest feeling” to have no hair!

The money raised for Comic Relief is going to help support a variety of people and projects in both the United Kingdom and Africa. In the United Kingdom, it will, amongst many other things, help provide shelter to young adults living on the streets and help protect those who have suffered from domestic abuse. In Africa, it will help by providing life-saving treatment for malaria to communities by giving them access to clean and fresh water and much needed vaccines.

Red Nose Day was celebrated throughout the United Kingdom and Africa. As of 6:30pm on Friday night, Red Nose Day had raised over £75 million, setting a new record for the most money raised in the 25 years since the creation of Red Nose Day. The total amount raised, however, has not yet been released.

If you missed the “the star-studded and unmissable Comic Relief- Funny for Money” (Red Nose Day) show on Friday, don’t worry! You can get exclusive clips on iTunes, with all purchases going to support Red Nose Day.

– Angela Hooks

Sources: UK Yahoo, Red Nose Day, BBC
Photo: Red Nose Day

Jonathan Ross Red Nose Day
March 15 will mark the 25th anniversary of the charity organization Comic Relief’s Biannual Red Nose Day. The event, which began in the UK in 1988, is an all-day affair that showcases British comedians performing telethon-style with the ultimate goal of raising money for poverty reduction in Africa. Since the first event, the organization has raised 660 million pounds for the cause.

What now appears to the public as a well-rehearsed and professional telethon was once a much more amateur affair with the most earnest of the organizers and performers of Red Nose Day holding it together. British talk show host and comedian Jonathan Ross recalls one mix-up from the early years when Welsh comedian Griff Rhys Jones began a comedic bit with his trademark enthusiasm only to realize that he was supposed to be presenting a tragic event. Despite moments of confusion, the event was a wild success and continues to be an important national event to this day.

The organization does not simply raise money to be passed on to indiscriminate sources. Walking through the halls of a Comic Relief-assisted school in Accra, Ross was impressed by the real world impact that a little money collected from thousands of people can make. He recognized the importance of the school to the community in helping the children gain a solid education to escape poverty.  When faced with the reality of the effect that the charity money makes, it is obvious that the school is more than just a place to collect impressive donation statistics or take riveting photos for a catalog. It is an institution that means a great deal to the community.

Ross admits that the idea of using comedy to highlight tragedy, as in the staggering poverty in Africa, is a risky way to raise awareness. Regardless, the performers and the organization have built a large following in the early years that has only grown since then. At the least, Red Nose Day is a bright and cheery way to bring awareness to global poverty on the international stage.

Sean Morales

Source: The Guardian

one-direction-is-helping-comic-relief-organization
The band One Direction includes five boys: Niall Horan, Harry Styles, Zayn Malik, Louie Tomlinson, and Liam Payne. They recently visited some of the poorer areas of Accra, Ghana as part of Red Nose Day. One Direction is helping an organization called Comic Relief by giving the proceeds of their upcoming single, “One Way or Another,” to the charity. This single was made as part of the Red Nose Day project, which often give proceeds to the area of Ghana that the boys visited. Comic Relief is an organization that aims to eliminate poverty worldwide through the form of entertainment. They have two main campaigns: Red Nose Day and Sport Relief. Sport Relief is a program that involves thousands of people to run a certain number of miles while raising money at the same time through sponsorship. There are also a few other scattered sports-related events to raise money throughout the year. The other campaign, Red Nose Day, is the project that One Direction have chosen to involve themselves in. The band is helping Comic Relief by following the basic idea of this program: to raise money while enjoying themselves; in this case, through music. Also, One Direction is helping the Comic Relief  Organization by visiting Ghana. When they visited Ghana as part of their video, they encountered the lifestyles of those living in the impoverished areas. The boys in One Direction have said their experience in Ghana was life-changing and moving. During the trip, some of the boys were brought to tears by the school they visited, and the children attending it. Harry Styles commented, “If you get involved in it and you don’t cry, you’re superhuman.” Overall, the boys want to have a positive impact on as many peoples’ lives as possible. To see the band being interviewed on the subject, click here. – Corina Balsamo Sources: Comic Relief, One Direction Music, Belfast Telegraph