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Lorraine Kelly: The walk of a lifetime

walkoflifetimeWhen our celebrity editor abandoned the security and glamour of her Lorraine television studio to brave the blistering heat of the north Kenyan desert, it was all for a good cause. Her aim? To raise vital funds for Comic Relief…

Kicking off her heels and lacing up her sturdy walking boots, Lorraine Kelly wholeheartedly embraced the unique opportunity to take part in the Comic Relief five-day trek across the Kaisut Desert. After the success of last year’s Kilimanjaro climb, celebrities this year braved the sweltering desert conditions to walk 100km (62 miles), to show their support and dedication to the charity which strives to create a just world free from poverty.

From left: Dermot O’Leary, Scott Mills, Lorraine Kelly, Ronni Ancona, Peter White, Craig David, Kara Tointon, Nadia Sawalha, Olly Murs.

Along with fellow famous faces, including TV presenter, Dermot O’Leary, and singer, Olly Murs, Lorraine helped to raise more than £1 million for Comic Relief to help provide sight-saving operations for Africans especially vulnerable to sight loss. Far from the comfort of her sofa, Lorraine experienced the adventure of a lifetime.

An inspirational journey

Lorraine felt the tough reality of this extreme challenge, with all its emotional and hard-hitting low points, a phone call from her daughter Rosie almost tipping her over the edge. It’s no wonder she describes it as every bit the ‘mental challenge’ that she had anticipated.


With her celebrity chums by her side, she battled through the difficulty of coping ‘with the fierceness of the African sun’ where temperatures reached a scorching 48°C, while appreciating the stunning beauty of the scenery. While the heat and painful mouth ulcers – a symptom of the compulsory anti-malaria tablets – presented Lorraine with physical challenges, the inspirational people the team met along the way made it all worthwhile.


Lorraine’s most memorable moment was ‘seeing an operation on a grandmother who had a painful eye disease trachoma, that was making her go blind’. While this life-changing operation costs a mere £17, it was something that couldn’t have taken place without the donations from Comic Relief.


Though the unbearable heat made it tough to achieve their walking targets of around 20km a day, Lorraine saw the trek as a personal as well as a charitable challenge. Crossing the finishing line on 25 February, she exclaimed: ‘Kenya has been my biggest challenge but amazing all the same!’


Now safely back on the ITV sofa, Lorraine admits to a huge sense of achievement in having ‘raised awareness and funds for such a worthwhile cause’.

To make your own donation to the Comic Relief fund send a cheque, payable to Ernst & Young, to PO Box 51543, London SE1 2UG. Alternatively, you can donate via the Comic Relief website (, where the current total stands at more than £74 million.

lorrainesaysLorraine says...’The desert trek was the toughest thing I have ever done – I have never been challenged like that. I had awful blisters and bad mouth ulcers because of a reaction to the anti-malaria medication.I also learned that I am determined, stubborn and have a lot more energy than I thought! Crossing the finish line was very emotional and we all shed a tear. I have also made some brilliant friends and we will stay in touch.’

This article was first published in at home with Lorraine Kelly in May 2011. [Read the digital edition here]

Images: PA Photos

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