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There ain't no mountain high enough for these stars to do their bit for Comic Relief.

Byline: Kaye Adams

Goodness knows how The Ivy Restaurant, London's fave celebrity haunt, will be faring tonight because any name of any note is either preparing for Let's Dance or heading up Kilimanjaro, all in aid of Comic Relief.

Limbering up to recreate dance classics in the comfort of a studio will be Duncan Bannatyne, Jo Brand and Anthea Turner.

There was talk Carol Thatcher was going to be in the mix but if she had bumped into Jo Brand in the Green Room, they'd have to have renamed it Let's Have A Square Go.

Doing the hard stuff, scaling Kilimanjaro, is a group of eight including Gary Barlow, Cheryl Cole, Kimberley Walsh, Ronan Keating and Chris Moyles. Gary says he chose all of his fellow climbers because they're the kind of people he'd want to be stuck on the side of a mountain with.

I can see what he's saying.

If they some how get cut off from camp and lose their supplies, Chris would be just the chap to keep them going. Then they'd have Cheryl to use as a toothpick.

Oh, you gotta larf, haven't you?

And you've got to be grateful that Comic Relief - and even Moyles - is there trying their heart out to raise cash for those who need it, both in Africa and in the UK.

Of all the casualties of this credit crunch, charities are among the hardest hit. In a couple of weeks, I'll be hosting the Heather Ball, the annual fund-raiser for Children 1st, the charity that works so hard with disadvantaged and abused kids and their families in Scotland. Like most charities, Children 1st relies heavily on donations to carry out its work and these big events have traditionally been important sources of revenue.

I'm sure this year's Heather Ball will be a great success but there's no point in kidding on, it's been tough to generate the same level of interest as usual.

On the one hand, of course it's fairly obvious why. There simply isn't as much extra cash floating around in the country, but there is another negative force at work.

Companies, in particular, have developed a shame-faced approach to being seen to spend, to raise a glass of wine to their lips, to invite customers along to - heaven forbid - a social event, even when the beneficiaries are people, children and communities who desperately need a helping hand, more so now than ever.

I was at another charity do recently which, as it happens, was organised by a bank. I won't tell you which bank or which charity it was for because the level of paranoia surrounding it was phenomenal lest someone who works for a financial institution was seen out of sackcloth and ashes and eating anything more than gruel.

But had it not gone ahead - and it was touch and go - an extremely needy charity would have missed out big-time.

Where's the sense in that?

Undoubtedly, we're heading for tough times and the days of splash-your-cash without thought or care are behind us. But you don't build bright new futures with small-mindedness and micro-vision.

Time to dust ourselves off, get up and get on with it.


HEAD FOR HEIGHTS... The celebs are lining up to do their bit for charity by scaling Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 21, 2009
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