Sport Relief has unveiled a star-studded line-up as it returns for 2020.
The biennial charity event, organised by Comic Relief, sees some of the biggest stars from the world and entertainment come together to raise thousands for good causes.
Gary Lineker and Paddy McGuinness are among the hosts for the BBC One TV event on March 13, with a number of other stars taking part in special programmes and challenges in the build-up.
Rio Ferdinand and his wife, fitness fanatic Kate, helped kick off the charity’s campaign, sharing a powerful personal message about how sport has improved their lives, especially when it comes to mental health.
Former England defender Rio said: “Over the years I’ve learnt that there’s much more to sport than winning trophies; there’s a lot to gain personally from taking part.
“Sport has this amazing ability to bring people together and tackle really important issues like mental health stigma, which I’m really passionate about.
“Sport gives you something to focus your energy on, and speaking from my own experiences off the pitch, it’s positively impacted my family’s lives when going through some hard times.
“Sport Relief brings all this together in a way no other charity does – with a sense of fun and humour, which we all need a bit more of. I am proud to be part of this year’s campaign and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the work donations support, to hopefully bring more attention to topics, like mental health, that we really need to keep talking about publicly.”
Kate added: “Sport is really important to me and our family – it’s helped me so much recently with my own panic attacks and anxiety, so I know how much it can change your way of thinking and mental health.
“I love starting the day with a home workout or family dog walk, any form of exercise sets me up with a positive and motivated mindset. The beauty of Sport Relief is that it is so easy to get involved and it is for anyone, whether you are sporty or not.
“Knowing that donations tackle issues like mental health, homelessness and domestic abuse, makes it a no-brainer for me. I’m excited to be part of this year’s campaign and look forward to getting more involved.”
Since the last Sport Relief, some of the money raised has helped support 127 organisations in Scotland alone.
Sport Relief aims to channel the power of sport to raise money and change lives, with donations spent on tackling major issues including mental health, domestic abuse, homelessness and child poverty – at home and around the world.
Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw, Judge Rinder, BBC Breakfast’s Louise Minchin and singer Frankie Bridge will be part of a team of eight celebrities for Sport Relief: On Thin Ice, a sub-zero four-day challenge.
In a world-first, the group will cycle, skate and trek 100 arduous miles across Lake Khovsgol, Mongolia, which is more than two million years old and freezes to ice during winter.
The challenge aims to break the ice on the silence and stigma surrounding mental health issues, a cause close to the hearts of the eight celebrities, so more people can access the support they need.
Their heroic efforts will be filmed for a one-hour documentary to be shown in the run up to Sport Relief.
Nick said: “Super excited to announce that I’ll be doing 25 miles a day on ice in Mongolia all in aid of Sport Relief. It’s going to be really challenging both mentally and physically, but I can’t wait to get started!”
Newsreader and avid runner Sophie Raworth will take on BBC Radio 3’s Beat Beethoven challenge which sees members of the public run 5k around MediaCityUK and “beat” the music of Beethoven’s epic Fifth Symphony performed live by the BBC Philharmonic on 13th March.
Max Whitlock MBE, double Olympic gold medallist and 2019 gymnastics World Champion, will also be gearing up to visit one lucky school in the country, as he announces a brand-new competition in a Sport Relief first.
Schools can enter simply by submitting their proposals on sportrelief.com/max, to be in with the chance of winning a special visit from Max himself.
Max has also joined forces with sports stars Ellie Simmonds, Harry Kane and Jessica Ennis-Hill to launch this year’s official Sport Relief range, sold exclusively in Sainsbury’s and selected Argos stores.
This year’s fundraising merchandise includes everything from colourful T-shirts to pin badges, as well as a limited-edition tote bag, designed by Dina Asher-Smith. This will all be on sale from 15th February.