Vernon Kay joined Zoe Ball on her BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show to announce to the nation that, for the 2023 Appeal of BBC Children in Need on Radio 2, he will undertake marathons and ultramarathons over four days. This feat will lead him from Victoria Park in Leicester, recently adopted as the home of Radio 2 in the Park, to the football stadium of Bolton Wanderers in his hometown. This is Vernon Kay’s ULTRA Ultramarathon Challenge!
Vernon will commence his challenge on Tuesday 14th November, with the goal of concluding around 9am on Friday 17th November (the day of the BBC Children in Need Appeal). He aims to cover approximately 115 miles on foot. The event will be broadcast live on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds throughout, with video highlights and additional coverage on Radio 2’s social media channels.
Throughout the challenge, Radio 2 presenters will continue with their usual shows, offering Vernon ample support and motivation through messages from their listeners. Additionally, Vernon will broadcast his own weekday morning show live while taking on the challenge! He will be accompanied on his journey by various special guests to keep his spirits high.
Vernon says: “I was just settling into my new mid-morning routine and now this! Everyone who has previously undertaken a BBC Children in Need challenge has raised so much money for this brilliant charity, so the pressure is on, but I’m up for it… so come on, let’s do this!”
Helen Thomas, Head of BBC Radio 2, says: “Who better than to take on this year’s Radio 2 challenge for BBC Children in Need than the newest member of our family and Bolton’s very own, Mr Vernon Kay. Run, Vernon run, we’re all super proud of you!”
Audiences can send their own messages of support to Vernon and donate via text and online (details will be provided closer to the time). The funds raised will go towards supporting children and young people across the UK facing various disadvantages.
In the lead-up to Vernon’s challenge, listeners will have the opportunity to access supporting content on BBC Sounds (further details will be provided).
Simon Antrobus, BBC Children in Need Chief Executive, says: “In recent years, the wellbeing of children and young people across the UK has been hugely challenged, sadly making the lives of children and young people facing disadvantage that much harder, so we are thrilled that Vernon is taking on such an enormous challenge to help make a difference when it is needed most. We will be cheering him on every step of the way!”
Vernon’s challenge follows Radio 2’s previous 24-hour challenges for BBC Children In Need, including last year’s The Great Scott TreadMills Challenge, when Scott walked, jogged and ran for 24 hours on a treadmill, raising over £1.3 million. Other challenges include Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s Kitchen Disco Danceathon in 2021, which also raised over £1.3 million; Joe Wicks’ 24 Hour PE Challenge in 2020, which raised over £2.5 million, and in 2019, Rylan undertook his 24-hour Great Ka-RY-oke Challenge, which helped Radio 2 raise over £2 million for the charity.
In 2020, the station brought together some of the most iconic global artists for the official BBC Children in Need single, a reimagined cover of Oasis’ Stop Crying Your Heart Out (BBC Radio 2 Allstars). Performers included Cher, Clean Bandit, Mel C, Jamie Cullum, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Lenny Kravitz, Kylie Minogue, Nile Rodgers and Robbie Williams and more. The single, created by Radio 2’s Head of Music, Jeff Smith, was recorded and filmed by artists across the world and produced by Grammy award-winning producers Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling.
This year’s Radio 2 Gala performance in aid of BBC Children In Need is Back to the Future The Musical. It takes place at 3pm on Sunday 12 November at London’s Adelphi Theatre. Radio 2’s Sounds of the 80s presenter, Gary Davies, will host the performance and join his fellow Radio 2 presenters to watch the show in the audience. This multi-award winning musical is adapted for the stage by the blockbuster movie’s original creators Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis and features original music by multi-Grammy winners Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard alongside hit songs from the movie, including The Power of Love, Johnny B. Goode, Earth Angel and Back in Time.
For further information and to book tickets, visit bbc.co.uk/radio2events. Ticket sale proceeds from the show will be donated to BBC Children in Need.
On Sunday 24 September, on his Radio 2 show (Sundays, 11am-1pm), Michael Ball launched the search for nominations for this year’s Sir Terry Wogan Young Fundraiser of the Year Award. The Award recognises Children in Need fundraisers, under the age of 18, who have shown creativity, commitment and inspiration while raising money for the charity. It was created as a tribute to the charity’s Life President, Sir Terry Wogan.
You can find details on how to nominate someone at bbc.co.uk/pudsey including the full terms and privacy notice. The closing date is Sunday 15 October at 11pm.
The Young Fundraiser of the Year will be revealed on the BBC Children in Need Appeal show on BBC One on Friday 17 November, with the recipient receiving their award during the programme that night.
Additionally, on that day, all the music played on Radio 2 between 7am and 4pm will be chosen by various BBC Children in Need projects from around the UK – a different project each hour.
BBC Children in Need believes every child and young person deserves the opportunity to thrive and be the best they can be. BBC Children in Need’s ambition is to create lasting, positive change across the UK for the children and young people who need it most. Together with the BBC and its partners, BBC Children in Need aims to inspire the nation in support of their work. BBC Children in Need’s 1,700 local charities and projects work tirelessly in every corner of the UK to help children & young people overcome the additional challenges they currently face, including supporting children and young people living in poverty, providing emergency support to families in crisis, providing comfort to children feeling sad, lost and alone, helping children overcome social injustice and supporting children to feel safe and secure again.
BBC Radio 2 is the UK’s most-listened-to radio station, with a weekly audience of 13.5 million (RAJAR Q2, 2023). The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show is the most listened-to breakfast show in the UK with an audience of 6.7 million (RAJAR Q2, 2023). The network’s presenters include Michael Ball, Zoe Ball, Rob Beckett, Tony Blackburn, OJ Borg, Rev. Kate Bottley, Rylan, Fearne Cotton, Sara Cox, Jamie Cullum, Gary Davies, Paul Gambaccini, Angela Griffin, Bob Harris, Vernon Kay, Cerys Matthews, Scott Mills, Jason Mohammad, Trevor Nelson, Dermot O’Leary, Elaine Paige, Mark Radcliffe, Romesh Ranganathan, DJ Spoony, Liza Tarbuck, Jeremy Vine, Michelle Visage, Johnnie Walker, Jo Whiley, Phil Williams, Claudia Winkleman, Steve Wright and Owain Wyn Evans.