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Sport Relief 2018: from boxing to rowing – we caught up with the celebrities in training

Helen Skelton, Sophie Raworth, Dan Walker and more tell us about their sporting challenges

Published: Friday, 23rd March 2018 at 9:00 am

Plenty of celebrities are taking on new challenges for Sport Relief on Friday 23rd March. But they won't go in unprepared – the likes of Sophie Raworth, Dan Walker and Helen Skelton have all been busy training for their sporting bouts. Here's how they've been getting on...



Spencer Matthews (BBC)

Six fearless celebrities will go head to head on the night to see who is the toughest of them all.

The line-up is:

Camilla Thurlow v Helen Skelton

Spencer Matthews v Wayne Bridge

Hannah Spearitt v Vanessa White

Helen Skelton (BBC)

“Sport Relief has a habit of putting people out of their comfort zone and boxing is certainly a whole new world to me,” says Helen Skelton. “I find it hard to say no to Sport Relief because I’ve met so many people who are supported by Sport Relief-funded projects.”

Hannah Spearritt (BBC)


Steve Redgrave (BBC)

Forget the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Races, it’s all about BBC v ITV for Sport Relief, with celebrities from both channels being trained by Steve Redgrave to take on Salford Quays.

Ellie Harrison, Dev Griffin, Sara Cox, Sophie Raworth, Rory Reid rowing for Sport Relief (BBC)

“I’m a runner not a rower,” says Sophie Raworth during the gruelling training sessions. “I made my rowing debut a year ago in a celebrity race before the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Races and vowed never to get in a boat again. It was terrifying being pulled along the Thames at high speed by highly competitive Olympians.

“Somehow I’ve been talked into doing it all again for Sport Relief. But this time we have real opposition… ITV!”

“We’ve had one practice session. But my crew are a feisty bunch. What we lack in skill, we make up for in determination. And obviously we have to win this one!”

Chris Hughes, Jake Canuso, Chris Bisson, Ferne McCann, Nicola Thorp, Charlotte Hawkins rowing for Sport Relief (BBC)

Dan Walker is desperate for victory, too. “With Charlotte Hawkins from Good Morning Britain in the other boat I don’t think Louise [Minchin] would allow me back on the sofa if I didn’t do the business for Team BBC.”

Dan Walker, Sophie Raworth, Dev Griffin, Ellie Harrison, Rory Reid, Sara Cox rowing for Sport Relief (BBC)


Chris Kamara, Anya Garnis, Alex Scott MBE, Pasha Kovalev, David Ginola, Karen Clifton (BBC)

Football stars David Ginola, Alex Scott and Chris Kamara will be tackling the glitterball for Sport Relief when the trio take part in a Strictly Come Dancing challenge with professionals Karen Clifton, Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis.

Karen Clifton, David Ginola (BBC)

They’ll all be performing to the same track — England’s 1990 World Cup anthem World in Motion by New Order. Look out, too, for John Barnes who’ll be performing his now legendary rap — but will he be persuaded to bust some moves on the dancefloor?

Anya Garnis, Chris Kamara, John Barnes, Alex Scott MBE, Pasha Kovalev (BBC)

Cycling and running

Jodi Dowse, Amal Hassan, Alex Jones, Leigh McLean and Debbie Williams take on the Mother of All Challenges (BBC)

Alex Jones and a team of four mums from across Britain will swim in Loch Ness, cycle through the Lake District and run across the Welsh coast. Leigh McLean, 44, from Glasgow is one of the teammates. “I’ve always loved watching the celebs really pushing themselves on Sport Relief. So when Alex requested mums to join her on a challenge, I thought, ‘I can do that!’ I also want to show my kids that if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it. Don’t doubt yourself.”


Sport Relief is on Friday 23rd March at 7pm and 10.35pm on BBC1

Here's how you can donate to Sport Relief

By text: You can text GIVE to 70205 to donate £5 or text GIVE to 70210 to donate £10. A full list of numbers for how to donate can be found here.

Online: You can donate any amount you want on the Sport Relief website, and pay by Pay Pal or debit/credit card. 

By phone: Call 03457 910 910 to donate using your debit or credit card 

By post: To donate by post, send in a cheque or postal order (made payable to either Red Nose Day or Sport Relief) and a giro slip if you have one to EY, PO Box 51543, London SE1 2UG


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