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Vernon Kay stuns with £5 million Children in Need ultramarathon triumph

Bolton's own Vernon Kay, the renowned TV presenter, raised an astonishing £5 million for Children in Need during a live broadcast on Friday.
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The 49-year-old, visibly moved, received the news from show host Alex Scott, 29, after completing the final leg of his gruelling 115-mile Ultramarathon challenge.

As Scott announced the staggering amount of £5,067,847, the studio audience erupted in applause, leaving Vernon in a state of shock.

Alex Scott lauded him as ‘amazing’ and ‘incredible’ for his exceptional fundraising efforts.

Vernon Kay Ultramarathon Effort

This monumental achievement contributed to the charity’s 43rd appeal show’s overall success, amassing a remarkable £33.5 million.

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive at BBC Children in Need, expressed gratitude, stating, “The overwhelming kindness and generosity shown this evening is remarkable, especially when things are incredibly hard for so many.”

Vernon’s emotional journey unfolded earlier in the day at Toughsheet Community Stadium in Bolton, where he was warmly welcomed by his parents, Gladys and Norman.

The heartwarming reunion was captured live for Zoe Ball’s BBC radio show, showcasing the tremendous support from his hometown of Bolton.

Tess Daly’s Support

Throughout the Ultramarathon challenge, Vernon’s wife Tess shared her pride and support on social media, cheering him on despite her absence.

Tess expressed her admiration, saying: “I am SO PROUD of what you’ve done!

“The generosity and support shown by everyone that has so kindly donated and those who have come out to support you along the way has been beyond wonderful.”

Vernon’s arduous journey took him through Salford, Linnyshaw, Little Hulton, and Middlebrook, culminating in a triumphant return to Toughsheet Stadium, the home of Bolton Wanderers.

Joined by a Big Fan

A man called Russell from Cardigan, South Wales, had driven four hours from home last night to meet Vernon this morning to join him, sleeping an hour and a half in his car at the Old Trafford Stadium, so had the privilege of sounding the horn to set Vernon on his way and run with him on the last day.

Vernon said: “Legend, appreciate that, welcome on board – slide in the back, there you go.”

Speaking on the last day, Vernon said: “Who’s idea was it to get up at 4, most selfish thing I’ve ever heard of!…. It’s been an experience I will never ever forgot… forget the running and forget the miles we’ve put on the clock, it’s the fact that people have come out on the street… and people have been getting emotional… telling me what’s going on in their live… it’s been a real emotion journey – said the journey word! Mentally I feel like I’ve got to stop myself crying…. here’s an example, when we were on Kinder yesterday a gentleman followed us with his dog and he said to me ‘Thank you for saving my life’ – I’m gonna stop crying, bear with me one second – and he said ‘You’ve given my son his dad back’, and I’m like ‘Oh my goodness me’.

“He said ‘There’s something you said on the radio’, he said ‘Thank you’ and he didn’t tell me what it was and I’m kind of desperate to know what it was, but its things like that where you’re like ‘Let’s be honest, it’s only jogging’, so its been really powerful, the public have been amazing.”

The challenges he faced, including a daunting trek over Kinder Scout in the Peak District, were documented on social media, providing a glimpse into the physical and emotional toll of the marathon.

The Ultimate Dedication

Despite moments of exhaustion and self-doubt, Vernon’s determination remained unwavering.

Jo Whiley reported that the fundraising stood at around £2.7 million on Thursday, with hopes of surpassing £3 million on Friday.

In a rallying cry to supporters, Vernon urged, ‘If I can get these 50-year-old legs pounding down the street to Old Trafford, then no matter how much you’ve got, big or small, if you can stick your hands in your pockets for Children in Need.’

Arriving at Bolton’s Stadium

Vernon Kay: I’m absolutely exhausted. I’m absolutely spent. Physically, mentally, there’s nothing in the tank. I’m so glad that I went to St. Joseph’s first because that was a real boost.

“We were coming through Bolton at the top and everyone was beeping their horns. It just really elevates you. Is there anyone here who can replace a knee?!… It’s been absolutely unbelievable.

“Literally unbelievable. It’s been one of the most painful and joyous experiences I’ve ever had. It’s been painful but people that we’ve met along the way, bear with me [crying], we’ve met some brilliant people who’ve donated all they can.

“Just one foot in front of the other, that’s what it was. It was great that we had a great team who have been absolutely brilliant. Pushing me along and motivating me. So thanks to the gang. JP, Mark, Nick – Nick’s had his thumbs where not many people have so – that’s the masseuse – thanks Nick. Chris on security as well. Obviously Professor Greg.”

Vernon Kay’s ambitious four-day marathon commenced on November 14, starting at Leicester’s Victoria Park.

The broadcaster faced physical challenges but continued to garner support, earning the title of a ‘hero’ on Radio 2’s The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show.

The astounding success of Vernon Kay’s Ultramarathon not only showcased his resilience but also highlighted the power of community and charitable giving.

To contribute to Children in Need, donations can be made by clicking here

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