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ALBUS Dumbledore describes Comic Relief as "widespread amusement converted into large quantities of money", and no one's going to quibble with a big name wizard.

One of the many huge successes of Comic Relief 2001 was JK Rowling's specially-written Harry Potter books, Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The total raised this year is well over pounds 30 million, and the money's still coming in.

While two-thirds of the total raised goes to help people in Africa, the rest helps projects all over the UK, including many in Scotland.

Highlights from the evening's massive seven-hour television extravaganza included the Ali G interview with Posh and Becks and Billy Connolly running naked around Piccadilly Circus (watched by almost 12 million people).

The Popstars spoof and the climax of Big Brother, which alone received three and a quarter million calls, helped raised more than pounds 500,000.

The Ali interview, the dynamic duo Ant and Dec, and the rest of the evening's fun will be put up on the Comic Relief website, so that you can revisit all the hilarity as many times as you like.

Elsewhere, more than 2000 party-minded people packed out Home in Leicester Square, London supporting Essential Relief - part of BBC Radio 1's Red Nose Day initiative.

Pete Tong and Danny Rampling broadcast live from the venue to countless other dance music connoisseurs across the nation and even beyond the UK, who all tuned in to make it a truly rocking Red Nose night.

The winner of the Battle of the DJs was Fergie, and thanks to more than pounds 20,000 raised, there'll be plenty more winners in our battle against poverty and social injustice.

So, what started off as a one-night giveathon all those years ago is now a year-round operation, raising money in all sorts of fun ways. You can keep up to date with what's new and happening at www.comicrelief.co.uk And while you're watching what's going on, it's important to remember what Comic Relief is all about.

It works on the principle that changing things is about using the money YOU raise to help people tackle the root causes of their disadvantage, as well as meeting their immediate needs, so hopefully they can make lasting changes for themselves.

Comic Relief doesn't just hand out money. It uses it to help people develop the resources, skills, and strength to make their own lives better and tackle the causes of their problems.

Quite simple things - a pile of stones, a small change in attitude, or making your voice heard - can have a big effect on lives.

While none of us on our own can change the lives of millions of people, it's certainly possible to change the lives of one, or two, or a few.

If every Young Scot helps to change a few people's lives in simple ways, that adds up to a lot of change.

Anyone can take action about something they feel strongly about. It's a three-step process of feeling, thinking and doing.

You imagine how something might feel by putting yourself in someone else's shoes, by empathising with them.

Then you use all your grey matter to find information about what you can do, then most importantly of all - decide to take action.

So, never think you can't change anything.

Through Comic Relief, you can help people you've never met, young people just like you but who have to live in much different, harder circumstances.

Now you can still help Comic Relief just by going to the cinema.

You can watch Steps getting smoochy with the Disney characters Kuzco and Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove.

As the official film of Red Nose Day 2001, 10p from every ticket sold at Warner Village and UCI Cinemas goes directly to Comic Relief.

YOU don't have to be a chocoholic to enjoy the pleasure of the latest chocolate bar on the market - but it helps!

Comic Relief have had a helping hand in producing an ethical chocolate bar called Dubble. By buying (and eating) this fab creamy milk chocolate bar with a crispy crunch, you can personally make sure that the cocoa growers in Ghana get paid a fair price for their hard labour.

It all comes back to Comic Relief who work towards ending world poverty by offering practical long-term solutions to the world's poorest. It gives a helping hand to those who can help themselves with a little bit of assistance. It backs fair trade, particularly with Africa, when often farmers and producers are exploited by international companies which inflate their own profits with little regard for the man or woman who has a family to support, a community to be part of, and an economy which needs a kick- start.

In 1991, Comic Relief recognised that the cocoa farmers of Ghana were in need of that helping hand. By establishing a direct market with the chocolate buying public (that's you!) they could ensure a fair price for the essential ingredient to chocolate - their cocoa.

So for the price of your usual sweetie, you get a great tasting chocolate bar which helps the farmers in Ghana to get a fair deal. You can't lose.

Young Scots say pants to poverty

YOUNG Scot cardholders organised loads of events for Comic Relief. A Sixties Night, organised by Katrina Greig and her mates in Glasgow, raised pounds 500. There was a Room 101 party in Edinburgh where you had to go as something or someone you hated (lots of Margaret Thatchers and a Charlie Dimmock), and Sarah Thomson climbed Kilimanjaro.

Sarah's mammoth trek took place last summer as part of a Millennium Seven Summits Challenge, and she was helped on her way with a grant from the Post Office Young Scot Action Fund. Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa. "What a shock when I saw it close up," said Sarah, "it was HUGE!"

(If you tell the nice people at Comic Relief what you did to raise funds, you could be sent a box of Dubble chocolate.)
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 11, 2001
Words:1013
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