Children in Need chairwoman praises ‘generosity of British public’

Singers on BBC Children In Need (BBC/Thames/Tom Dymond/PA)
Singers on BBC Children In Need (BBC/Thames/Tom Dymond/PA)
PA Media

The “generosity of the British public” has been praised by the Children in Need chairwoman after this year’s live show raised more than £39 million for thousands of UK charities.

Rosie Millard spoke on BBC Breakfast about the programme’s highlights and blunders, including presenter Mike Bushell’s singing performance, which she joked was “a car crash”.

The star-studded episode which aired on Friday night raised £39,389,048, according to the latest total.

The generosity of the British public every year is remarkable and this year it was fantastic

Rosie Millard, Children In Need

The following morning, Ms Millard told BBC Breakfast presenters that the donations this year were “fantastic” and assured viewers the organisation is “very careful” about which charities receive the funding.

She said: “The generosity of the British public every year is remarkable and this year it was fantastic.

“We distribute it (the funds) to over 2,500 charities, often grassroots, tiny charities, which have enormous impact, these charities are right across the UK.

“What Children in Need does, because we scope who we’re giving the money to, we look at how it’s being spent, these are durational grants for three years.

“So, we really examine and are very careful about the charities we give our money to.

“It shows the integrity of the charity and it basically encourages the charity to raise money from other sources, people say if Children in Need are funding it, it’s bound to work, so it really helps local charities.”

Ms Millard added that one of her personal highlights was seeing the response of 13-year-old Billy and his mother Mandy who have been supported by a Children in Need project, receiving his old teddy bear.

The Repair Shop team Amanda Middlemarch and Julie Tatchell restored the bear and Billy’s emotional reunion with it was aired on the live show.

The programme also featured appearances from stars including pop group Abba, actor Stephen Fry Strictly professional dancer Oti Mabuse, Olympian gymnast Max Whitlock and broadcaster Clare Balding.

Celebrities including the BBC’s Bushell also stepped out of their comfort zone to take to the stage.

Bushell faced broadcaster Jason Mohammad and newsreader Kate Silverton in a rendition of I Can See Your Voice, where the judging panel had to guess which of the three was lip-syncing.

The judges correctly guessed Bushell was the presenter who could not sing, meaning he had to perform again.

Ms Millard said she was surprised by the performance because Bushell’s BBC colleague Naga Munchetty had previously said he had a good voice.

Speaking to Ms Munchetty on BBC Breakfast, she said: “I saw you talking about it yesterday and saying ‘I know how he sings, it’s fantastic’, so I was sitting in the auditorium talking to fellow trustees who were there, telling them: ‘he’s going to win, he’s fantastic’.

“Honestly, if you lined up 100 people and said ‘what’s your worst fear’, (for him) it would be singing in public, but he did it.

“He was game for being mocked nationally.”

When Ms Munchetty interjected to defend her colleague, Ms Millard joked: “No, it was a car crash.”

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