Christmas came early as Text Santa raised the highest total ever of £5,503,065 by December 19, with more still coming in, as millions of viewers tuned in to watch the live show on ITV.
The show featured a line-up of stars, including a guest appearance of George Clooney on the Text Santa special of Downton Abbey. The evening’s entertainment got off to a flying start with Ant and Dec presenting the first hour of the show, followed by Phillip Schofield and Christine Bleakley, with Alesha Dixon and Paddy McGuinness closing the show with a roaring finale of McBusted performing ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.’
Marie Curie is one of the six charities who will benefit from the appeal, along withTeenage Cancer Trust, Guide Dogs, WellChild, Alzheimer’s Society and Together for Short Lives. The show included six moving films highlighting the work of the chosen charities. Actress Brenda Blethyn presented the Marie Curie film, which tells the story of Michael, who is living with terminal bowel cancer, and his Helper volunteer Danny from the Helper Service in Belfast.
Dr Jane Collins, Chief Executive of Marie Curie, said: “TheText Santa show was an amazing success and we are overwhelmed by the immense generosity of ITV viewers who have supported the appeal. We are so grateful to ITV for choosing Marie Curie as one of the beneficiary charities and giving us a platform to raise awareness of our work providing care for people living with a terminal illness and their families. People like Michael, who featured in the show and is currently matched with Danny, one of the Helper volunteers from our Belfast Helper service. Michael’s powerful story gives an insight into the impact of the Helper service in providing vital one-to-one support and companionship when people need it most.
“All funds raised from Text Santa will help us to expand our Helper service to reach more people across the UK living with a terminal illness, long after the appeal has finished.”
The last date for donations to Text Santa is 17.00 on 9 January 2015. There are many ways to donate, please visit the ITV Text Santa website to find out how. The final total raised will be announced by ITV in January 2015.