Comedian Billy Connolly’s appeal for Comic Relief
Comic Relief’s major fundraiser, Red Nose Day, is back on 24th March. People across the UK will join forces to raise money for charities in Great Britain and around the world.
It’s a day when people across the nation get together and organise fundraising events at home, work and school, with a fantastic night of celebrity-led TV comedy and entertainment on the BBC inspiring us all to dig deep.
Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly, has always made a commitment to Comic Relief and this year is no exception. Despite his own health battles with Parkinson’s disease and cancer, at no time has his ill health held him back and he still retains his wicked sense of humour.
In support of dementia and Alzheimer’s, the 74-year old comic has made a rare public appearance to promote Comic Relief, starring in a new charity video calling for donations to Red Nose Day.
The video reveals that the Big Yin still retains the sense of humour that has made him a household name since he first burst onto the comedy circuit in the early 1970s. Telling viewers he’s “asking for your cash”, he quips that it’s not for him, adding, “I’ve got cancer and Parkinson’s and I need a haircut but no!”
In the video, he introduces three members of the public whose lives are affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia, calling for donations.
The former Glasgow shipyard welder, who started out in the entertainment industry as a folk singer in the 1960s before becoming a comedian, revealed his self-depreciating humour was still as sharp as ever. Saying that people may know him as the comedian with a “weird beard who once took off his clothes for Comic Relief”, he was referring to a streak he did across London’s Piccadilly Circus for Red Nose Day in 2001.
He says that how people remember him isn’t important but what does matter is that everyone watching uses the amazing power they possess to change someone’s life.
Connolly was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2013 after an Australian surgeon who saw him in a hotel lobby urged him to see a doctor because he had a “strange gait”. The comedian took his advice and was later diagnosed with the degenerative condition. Soon afterwards, he also found out he had prostate cancer but he was given the all-clear later the same year.
Connolly has been married to his wife, Pamela Stephenson, for 28 years and the couple have three children together; Daisy, Amy and Scarlett. He also has two children, Cara and Jamie, from his previous marriage.
Despite his health issues, Connelly continues to work and he has three live stand-up shows scheduled in America – New York, Boston and Washington DC.
Michael J Fox
Fellow suffer, Michael J Fox, is the source of much inspiration for the Scottish comedian. Fox was diagnosed in 1991 but it wasn’t until 1998 that he felt he could go public with the diagnosis. He set up the Michael J Fox Foundation to help suffers and to fund research into this currently incurable disease.