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Comedians back Welsh journalist’s charity bid

A regional journalist is continuing his mission to help poverty stricken children in India with the help of some well-known comedians.

Jem King, assistant head of sport at Media Wales, which publishes the Western Mail has just returned from Kerala in southern India where he took part in a five-day 350km cycling marathon to raise £1,500 for HEAL.

The UK registered charity formed in 1992 and committed to providing shelter, support, education and healthcare for more than 1,000 children in India.

To raise even more money he has now approached some of his favourite comedians to donate items for a online auction and hopes the additional money raised will allow him to hit his target of £1,500.

Ricky Gervais, TV presenter Graham Norton, Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson and stand-up comedians Ross Noble and Russell Howard have all donated items to be auctioned off.

Said Jem: “I was very pleased with the response I had.  I’ve always enjoyed comedies and I’m glad to say that almost all the comics I approached came back with a positive response.”

Jem King on a recent visit to India

Previously auctioned signed items for HEAL have come from top Hollywood stars such as Sir Anthony Hopkins, Hugh Grant, Dame Judi Dench and Jeremy Irons.

Jem first became involved with HEAL after he saw a film made for Sport Relief where tiny children were forced to forage among a rubbish tip to find items to recycle or sell, simply to stay alive, while others attempted to eke out a living buffing passengers’ shoes for loose change in packed, sweltering train carriages.

Said Jem: “The sight of a group of UK cricketing celebrities, including the normally ebullient Phil Tufnell and motormouth broadcaster Chris Evans, too choked up to speak to camera as they witnessed these pitiful, distressing sights, had a profound effect on me.

“Call it an epiphany, or whatever you like, but I knew there and then I couldn’t sit back and ignore the plight of those children.”

In 2010 Jem sponsored a little girl called Anusha at the HEAL Children’s Village in Guntur.

All the money raised from Cycle India will go directly into the cost of creating and developing a ‘Paradise Village’, which aims to take another 1,000 severely disadvantaged children under its wing.

Anyone interested in supporting Jem, who also completed a charity walk for the Alzheimer’s Society last year can make a donation at

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  • March 7, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Funny how we find it easier to raise money for charities helping foreign kids when there are just as many tragic stories involving needy/handicapped youngsters in our own land. Also, we have recently given £1billion of aid money to India which has its own space programme and has told us it doesn’t need our money anyway. Former cricketer Imran Khan even says our aid actually damages Indian society. Not taking anything away from Jem for his good work and heartfelt efforts but I think we should be thinking more deeply about supporting our own communities first.

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