Sophie Ellis-Bextor raises more than £1m with 24-hour ‘danceathon’

<p>Sophie Ellis-Bextor</p>

Sophie Ellis-Bextor

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Sophie Ellis-Bextor has raised £1,009,317 for BBC Children In Need with a 24-hour “danceathon”.

The 42-year-old singer embarked on the challenge on Tuesday morning, inspired by the Kitchen Discos she hosted during lockdown, and finished on Wednesday with the song Dancing Queen by Abba.

Ellis-Bextor became tearful as she was reunited with her mother Janet Ellis, her husband, The Feeling bassist Richard Jones and their five sons during the last half-hour.

The initial total was £803,384 but additional donations following the challenge raised it above £1 million.

Reacting to the total raised, she told Zoe Ball on BBC Radio 2: “That’s phenomenal. Thank-you so much.

“This has been extraordinary. I always thought this would be an amazing privilege to have done.”

She closed the challenge with renditions of her hits Take Me Home and Murder On Yhe Dancefloor as her husband accompanied her on a Millennium Falcon-shaped bass guitar.

A message on her Twitter account said: “Sophie’s done it! After 24 hours of dancing, that’s an incredible total to finish on – and with the entire family too, in true Kitchen Disco style.

“Well done Sophie and thank you so much for all your support during a marathon.”

Ellis-Bextor was joined in person and by video link by celebrity guests including Gemma Collins, Rylan Clark, Beverley Knight and boy band JLS at the BBC Radio Theatre in London.

Famous names including Ed Sheeran, Rick Astley and Sir Elton John also sent messages of support during the 24 hours, as did Joe Wicks – who completed a 24-hour workout for Children In Need last year.

The challenge followed on from the Kitchen Discos the singer hosted during lockdown, when she encouraged people to sing and dance in their own kitchens as she livestreamed from home with her own family.

Since May last year, she has also hosted several Kitchen Disco shows on BBC Radio 2 and BBC Sounds.

Head of Radio 2 Helen Thomas said: “All of us at Radio 2 would like to say the hugest thank-you to Sophie Ellis-Bextor for agreeing to undertake and now completing an incredible 24 hours Kitchen Disco Danceathon.

“Thank-you to all the wonderful Radio 2 listeners who have donated and all those who joined at any point in the danceathon to support and motivate Sophie along the way.

“We are all in awe of her accomplishment.”

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