As Manchester winds down from another hugely successful Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Mile, the focus begins to shift to the people at the centre of it all, the Great British public.
While Sport Relief is now renowned for amazing feats of endurance from celebrities such as David Walliams, Eddie Izzard and John Bishop, there can be no doubt that it wouldn’t be what it is now without the overwhelming support of ordinary Britons.
Over a million people pounded pavements throughout the UK this weekend to raises fund for causes both at home and abroad and the total currently stands at a record breaking £52million.
Kevin Cahill, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, expressed his delight at the level of public support.
“To have over a million people doing a mile over the weekend is incredible.
What a fantastic way to celebrate the biggest year of sport and cap off a record breaking Sport Relief weekend,” he said.
Manchester certainly revelled in the occasion on Sunday; the beaming sun ensuring a great day out for people of all ages and athletic backgrounds.
The Copeland family from Sale were one of the many to embrace the friendly atmosphere and do their bit for Sport Relief. When asked of the inspiration behind their fundraising attempts, Mr Copeland was certain.
“John Bishop,” he said. “I’ve got two metal hips and if he can do that, I can do that mile.”
Singing sensations Rock Choir were among the acts to entertain Milers, and when we spoke with one member, Donna Leicester, 29, from Warrington, we heard they were happy to be involved.
“It’s about raising money for good causes really.
“It’s all really upbeat and rousing stuff!” she said.
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The carnival atmosphere was evident throughout the day, aided by the fantastic weather and many participants spoke of their delight of being part of a collective effort.
England Rugby star Chris Ashton told MM he has witnessed for himself the work that Sport Relief do in the UK.
“It’s great that people can join together to support a cause like this.
On a day like this, we’re all pulling together in the same direction” he said.
Some of the Milers chose to don their fancy dress costumes and put their best foot forward. From giant cricketers on stilts to hula-hoopers and funny frocks, it was all part of the fun for many of them.
One troublesome trio, calling themselves the Caped Crusaders, told us how they raised £500 from sponsorship among family and friends.
Speaking about how the money will be spent by Sport Relief, ‘Batman’ said: “It’s good that it goes into a big pot and they share it out so everyone gets equal opportunities.”
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Manchester miler Vicky Clarke, 16, said: “I feel like I’ve made a real difference to Sport Relief by lining up on the start line and getting sponsored. I’ve seen a few famous too.”
“Not bad for a Sunday morning.”
From families having fun to adrenaline chasers trying to beat the clock, there was something for all ages and fitness levels on the day. Energy, entertainment and excitement were the buzzwords of the day for many.
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Sport Relief are still welcoming donations of any size to help push that total higher and higher and complete a record-breaking year in style. Money raised from Sport Relief events will be used to help some of the most vulnerable people both at home and across the world’s poorest countries.
Corrie’s favourite Mancunian, Antony Cotton, echoed the calls for the continued support from the public.
“We need everyone to go to www.sportrelief.com to do their bit and donate now!” he said.