Manchester’s famous faces were in out in force as they put their best foot forward for Sport Relief.
John Bishop, Olly Murs, Andrew Sheridan and Antony Cotton were among the 6000+ people who went the extra mile and completed the Manchester Mile in Spinningfields on Sunday.
Liverpudlian comic Bishop ran, cycled and rowed 295 miles from Paris to London and finished off his monumental effort by completing a mile through Manchester with wife Mel by his side.
He joined the Manchester Mile on Sunday because he felt he needed the exercise, he told us.
“My ‘Week of Hell’ was painful and difficult but today has been an absolute joy.
“I’ve seen firsthand the difference that Sport Relief money makes and I can tell you that it really does change lives here in the UK and around the world,” he added.
EXTRA MILE: Olly Murs performed before completing the Mancheser Mile
Pop superstar Olly Murs performed for the Milers before completing the mile himself surrounded by hoards of his teenage fans.
Speaking to MM at the start line he was in a confident mood and delighted to be in Manchester with some of his biggest fans.
He said: “I just finished my UK tour so had no time to train for the mile but I’m a fit lad and I’m in decent shape and I’m hoping to do the one mile in around eight minutes today.
“I love the Manchester fans - they’re a great set of fans. I feel like I have my biggest fans here in Manchester. Maybe that’s because I’m a United fan.”
Coronation Street star Cotton was full of enthusiasm and was delighted to be part of such a great cause.
“Sport Relief and Comic Relief are amazing charities, I’ve been helping them for nine years now,” he said.
“A mile is nothing. Even if you’re the most un-sport-minded person you can do it. Even if it takes you half an hour it isn’t going to kill you,” he added.
He said: “It’s a very inclusive event because anyone of any age, young or old and everything in between can do it.”
And he was delighted to be able to help out and do his bit in his home city.
“I am a very proud Mancunian. When the sun is out there is no better city in the world,” he said.
PROUD MANCUNIAN: Antony Cotton gets involed to help raise £52million
Sale Sharks star Andrew Sheridan was also keen to do lend his support to the event and emphasised the importance of helping those at home as well as abroad.
“Sport Relief asked me to come along and it’s a great event, a great opportunity to raise money for good causes,” he said.
“I think it’s important, from the public’s point of view, that it goes to people who need it in the UK as well. It’s good to have that split – to help those who need it abroad as well, as well as looking after your own country.”
Radio One-Xtra DJ Ronnie Herel was completing the mile for the third year running.
“Changing someone’s life, one person, a hundred people - it’s got to be done.
“It’s a broad spectrum, trying to help a lot of people – helping the war soldiers who have been in Afghanistan and Iraq for example – so many causes, so giving just that little bit can help to ease their problems.”
Ronnie encouraged everyone to get their trainers on and do their bit regardless of how fit they are.
“Listen, I’m the unfittest person on the earth – even if you walk it, get your costumes out, get your friends involved – no excuse, these people are willing to give something back and that’s a beautiful thing.
“Everyone can do something, everyone should do a little bit to make a change and make a difference.
“It was important for me just to do a little something. There’s no excuses, the whole country can get involved – get online and donate at sportrelief.com.”
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More than a million Britons got involved at hundreds of Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile events across the country with Manchester one of 17 flagship UK cities, from Brighton to Belfast, to embrace Sport Relief.
Money raised from Sport Relief will be spent by Comic Relief to help some of the most vulnerable people in the UK and in the world’s poorest countries.
To donate, please visit www.sportrelief.com for further details and give whatever you can. As Mancunians showed yesterday, all efforts, big and small, are welcome.