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Comic Relief hopes to beat the downturn

RED Nose Day organisers are hoping the charity appeal will remain recession-proof as it marks its 25th anniversary.

Comic Relief founders Lenny Henry and Richard Curtis marked the milestone with a host of comedians and television presenters yesterday at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

Emma Freud, director of Red Nose Day, said: "I don't know if we are recession proof. I think this is going to be quite an interesting year to watch.

"Two years ago we absolutely expected our money to take a downturn.

"People were really strapped for cash and it was all anybody was talking about.

"But two years ago we made £22 million more than we'd ever made before. We took £108m on Red Nose Day. It was our greatest year ever.

"I think what it showed was that, when the chips are down, when people are having a hard time, rather than getting precious about what they own, actually we get more empathetic."

In this year's show, which takes place next month, X Factor creator Simon Cowell will get married in a sketch, while Rowan Atkinson will showcase his latest character as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Popstar Jessie J is preparing to shave her hair off live as she joins millions of fundraisers across the country hoping to raise cash for projects in Africa and in the UK.

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