Danny Dyer is to make a trip to Sierra Leone as part of this year’s Sport Relief fundraiser.
The EastEnders actor will travel to the West African country, which was finally declared free of Ebola by the World Health Organisation in November last year, following a 17-month state of emergency that saw the virus claim nearly 4000 lives.
“I want to go over there and experience the situation for myself,” Dyer told RadioTimes.com. “When you’re sitting in your living room all comfortable, watching it on TV, it almost doesn’t seem real to see a country face such devastation. I think it’s going to give me a new perspective on life and that I’ll come back a different person.”
Speaking about the awareness he hopes the visit will raise, the actor added: “I’m hoping that it will make people pick up the phone. I feel that there’s a dark and twisted side to fame, but I believe that once you have it, you should use it responsibly.
“I don’t know what to expect when I go over there, but I’m hoping that it will make some kind of difference. It’s an honour to be asked.”
Danny Dyer in 2014 with daughter Dani (left) and partner Jo Mas (right)
A report by the British charity Street Child carried out in March 2015 showed that more than 12,000 children have been left orphaned by Ebola in Sierra Leone, a statistic not lost on father-of-three Dyer.
“When my two-year-old son Arty isn’t well or has a cough, I worry about him and want to take the pain away. And if you think about these children in Sierra Leone who have become orphans because of a disease that has wiped out a population of people, then that’s terrifying.
“Having children changes the way you think. You’re on this earth to protect and nurture them and show them a good path in life. I’m a very emotional person and I’m making this trip on a human level. I just want to feel that I can bring something else to the table, even though I know I’m going to come back a mess.”