Thousands make Sport Relief a success

THERE was a carnival atmosphere when thousands of people dusted off their trainers and turned out for the Sport Relief Mile.An estimated 5,000 people descended on Christchurch Park on a sweltering Saturday to help raise money for vulnerable people in the UK and the poorest countries of the world.

THERE was a carnival atmosphere when thousands of people dusted off their trainers and turned out for the Sport Relief Mile.

An estimated 5,000 people descended on Christchurch Park on a sweltering Saturday to help raise money for vulnerable people in the UK and the poorest countries of the world.

They were joined by celebrities from the worlds of sports, showbiz and business including X Factor star Andy Abraham and sporting stars Roger Osborne, Keith Deller and Karen Pickering, Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton and Ipswich businessman Graeme Kalbraier.

Across the country more than 420,000 people took part, raising millions of pounds for many good causes.

Organisers said that when all the money raised nation-wide is finally counted they expect to have broken their previous highest total of £16 million

Jamie Oliver, Sadie Frost and McFly took part in the mile on London's Embankment with double Olympic Gold medallist Kelly Holmes starting off the first of eight waves of runners in the capital.

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In Ipswich, Rob Mayhew, 40, of Kesgrave, said his main concern for the day was attempting to beat his nine-year-old son Luke.

“It is a great chance for children to get involved in something and raise money for charity,” Mr Mayhew said.

“The set up has been great with plenty to do and see and we are lucky it is being held here,” he added.

Meanwhile Eva Chart, 65, of Colchester, said she had been roped into the event by her eager nine-year-old grandchild Jade Helliwell.

“It is a perfect event because most people can do a mile without too much trouble and it is a very worthy cause,” Mrs Chart said.

“The atmosphere is fantastic and it's nice to see so many people getting involved,” she added.

Marion Walker, 51, of Snape, was taking part with her 16-year-old daughter Kate.

“We have both done it before and really enjoyed it,” Mrs Walker said.

“Kate isn't really into her running so it is a great chance for her to be involved as it's not a very big distance,” she added.

The runners went off in several waves spread out between 11am and 1.30pm and went from Christchurch Park, through the old town centre onto the main shopping area.

Each “Miler” was asked to take part wearing one red sock, and was presented with a second at the finish line to show that they have “socked it to poverty”.

Sport Relief, a joint initiative between Comic Relief and BBC Sport has raised over £30 million since it began in 2002. The money is split between projects in disadvantaged communities in the UK and helping children and young people overseas.

The final total for this year's event will be announced in autumn when all the sponsorship money has been collected.

Kevin Cahill, chief executive of Comic Relief, said: "We are thrilled.”

Donations can still be made by calling 08457 910 910 (local rate applies); going online at www.sportrelief.com; and at any bank, building society or Post Office. Cheques payable to "Sport Relief 2006' can be sent to Ernst & Young, PO Box 678, London, EC4A 1NT.

Weblink:

www.sportrelief.com

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