£73.4 million for a Red Nose!

 If you live in Britain, you may have noticed in your local supermarket that there have recently been special promotions called “Red Nose Day”, selling red things you can put on your nose. It is for the charity Comic Relief, and this year it raised a record £73.4million. What is Comic Relief? This charity was founded by Lenny Henry, a famous English comedian, and Richard Curtis, a Film/TV writer of famous comedies such as Mr. Bean and Love Actually, in 1985 in response to famine in Ethiopia. This is why the charity name was called “comic”, a characteristic of comedy or a comedian, and “relief”, meaning to relieve pain and suffering. On Red Nose Day special programs and all the fund-raising events that have been happening that week are shown on TV throughout the night.

What else?

Since its foundation, it has expanded its help to the poor and vulnerable people of the UK and Africa, and has raised over £650million in total. Currently, its main supporters are the BBC, BT and Sainsbury's supermarket chain. The BBC is responsible for the live television show on Red Nose Day; BT provides the telephone services so people can call up and donate, and Sainsbury's sells merchandise on behalf of the charity.

What do people do?

In the week leading up to Red Nose Day, people and celebrities dress up and do silly things for their friends or family, or anyone in general, to sponsor them. You may have seen clowns dancing in the street, or someone with a red nose singing. They are not crazy, just being helpful!

How often is Comic Relief/Red Nose day?

Red Nose Day was traditionally every year from when it started until 2002. Then a new charity connected to it, Sport Relief (using sport rather than comedy to raise money) was set up and it is usually held on the second or third Friday in March (18th March this year). Now Comic Relief and Sport Relief alternate every year around this date.

Why the Red nose?

A famous feature of a clown is its red nose. Clowns generally make people laugh. So it is only natural that this would be the symbol of Comic Relief, and each year, the style of noses change, with some people collecting the different variations. I remember all those years ago when it was just a plain red nose. The next year it had a face. The year after that, a smiling face. After that, it was a tomato. After that, a smiling tomato. So you can see that they are always trying something different to promote Red Nose Day. This year, there were three different red noses, each a different type. A goofy one called Honkus, a pirate called Captain Conk, and a nerdy one called Chucklechomp. Comic Relief and Red Nose Day have now become a tradition in England and it amazes me to see that people are still so generous and give away money to those who need it more. It amazes me even more considering we are meant to be in a recession! So next time you see a red nose in a shop, don’t just look. Please look, laugh and buy!

Business vocabulary:

to advertise something
an organization to help people who need it – money, advice, etc
To raise
to collect (money)
Was founded (to be founded)
The verb phrase to say when or who started a business or organisation
the act of raising money
To expand
to increase
To donate
to give in order to help
things you can buy relating to an organization
To sponsor
to promise to give money to someone if they do something
To set up
to start (a business / organization)
To be generous
to describe someone who gives a lot unselfishly
To give away
to give something for free
a bad period of economic activity

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