Celebrity couple Ben Foden and Una Healy showed their support for a charity set up in the name of a brave little girl from Wellingborough by raising money for the appeal on Celebrity Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
The Northampton Saints and England rugby player and his pop star wife competed on the programme in aid of the Wellingborough-based children’s cancer charity Niamh’s Next Step.
They raised £50,000 on the show, which was aired on New Year’s day. The cash will be shared between the appeal and Healy’s chosen charity, Marie Curie.
Foden wore his Niamh’s Next Step wristband on the show. He has already publicly backed the appeal by becoming a patron of the charity, which was set up in January 2011 to raise £450,000 to take Niamh Curry for specialist treatment in America after she was diagnosed with the childhood cancer neuroblastoma.
The five-year-old sadly lost her battle with the rare cancer in May last year.
Her parents, Chris and Sam Curry have vowed to continue the appeal in order to fight the disease in Niamh’s memory.
Who Wants to be a Millionaire host Christ Tarrant told the studio audience and the millions of viewers that they were “playing to raise money for Niamh’s Next Step, which aims to raise money and awareness of the childhood cancer, neuroblastoma”.
They correctly answered questions about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, England football team and the Winter Olympics.
But they struggled on questions about the Chancellor, George Osbourne and Nasa’s rover that landed on Mars in August.
They came up with the correct answers after using their life lines, and they were beaten only by the clock as time ran out after they secured a £50,000 prize fund for their two charities.
Foden and Saturdays singer Healy are among the many celebrities who have lent their support for the charity. Fellow ruby player Lee Dickson is also a patron, along with former X-Factor 2008 contestant Daniel Evans, Westlife singer Shane Filan and his wife Gillian and boxers Peter Mcdonagh and Jamie Moore.
Mr Curry said he is extremely grateful for the support of the celebrity patrons. He also thanked Foden and Healy for their efforts to raise money on the ITV programme.
He said: “It came as a great surprise to us when we got the phone call from ITV about them going on the show. It’s really great to have their support. Ben proudly wears his Niamh’s Next Step wristband. He’s a lovely guy and it’s great to have his support. The £25,000 means so much to our newly formed charity.”
More than £190,000 had been raised for the appeal before the show. To make a donation send cheques made out to Niamh’s Next Step’ to Niamh’s Next Step, Troon Crescent, Wellingborough, Northants, NN8 5WG.
Donate online at www.justgiving.com/nns/Donate. Donations can be made via text message to 70070. Text STEP22 £2 to donate £2, STEP22 £5 to donate £5 or STEP22 £10 to donate £10. For more details visit www.niamhsnextstep.com.