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Dermot O’Leary leads star support for CAFOD's Big Lent Walk

15 March 2024

In a resounding show of solidarity, Dermot O’Leary, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Bobby Seagull and Alex Macqueen have thrown their weight behind CAFOD's annual Lent fundraising challenge, the 'Big Lent Walk'. TV and radio presenter, Dermot O’Leary, a dedicated CAFOD (Catholic Agency For Overseas Development) Ambassador, expressed his unwavering support for this year's initiative in a heartfelt video message.

The Big Lent Walk is a 40-day challenge, urging thousands of individuals, schools, and parishes to collectively walk at least 200km, raising essential funds for CAFOD's global efforts to combat poverty. The walk is in its third year and was one of the positive outcomes of the pandemic, raising much needed funds for the international development charity’s work.

Joined by a roster of other celebrities, Dermot thanks participants embarking on this journey, aiming to surpass the fundraising target of £350,000.

Children's author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce emphasized the critical nature of supporting CAFOD, especially in a world marked by increasing inequality and instability. He praised CAFOD's community-centric approach, ensuring aid is delivered appropriately, sensitively, and sustainably.

TV presenter and Maths teacher Bobby Seagull thanked all the Catholic schools taking part, highlighting how inspiring it was that over 125,000 students from 500 schools had already embraced the challenge, recalling how much he enjoyed the walking he did to reach Fatima Way in Portugal for BBC programme Pilgrmage.

In a video message, singer-songwriter Adenike Adewale, currently touring the UK as Whitney Houston in 'The Queen of the Night', expressed gratitude to everyone participating. She highlighted the transformative power of walking as a time and chance for reflection and prayer.

Actor Alex Macqueen, who actively fundraised for CAFOD during his school years, reminisced about his cherished stroll through St James' Park in London. His endorsement adds a very personal touch to the campaign, connecting with a wider audience and encouraging their involvement.

Singer-songwriter and former X-Factor star Talia Dean, known for her captivating voice and stage presence, is also lending her support to the Big Lent Walk this year. Talia has created a series of short clips on her phone, specifically designed for use on social media, encouraging more people to sign up and support CAFOD's important work.

Hal St John and Cherrie Anderson from Ooberfuse, the London band that recently collaborated with Snoop Dog, are also backing CAFOD’s fundraising walk.

To date, CAFOD has raised an impressive £130,000 from 10,000 donations, highlighting the generosity and commitment of supporters. However, the opportunity to join the 'Big Lent Walk' and contribute is still open.

There’s still time for individuals, schools, and parishes interested in participating to register. Hundreds of thousands of people, by themselves or within schools and parishes, have already walked this Lent for CAFOD and it is not too late to join the Walk to Easter fundraiser. Starting on Palm Sunday, walking through Holy Week and then finishing on Easter Sunday - if you walk 5km each day, that’s 40km in total – a perfect Lent number!

Online donations to support CAFOD's impactful work can be made at where people can also sign up for the walk.

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Notes to editors

  • CAFOD is the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and part of Caritas International. Working with communities across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America to fight poverty and injustice. The agency works with people in need, regardless of race, gender, religion, or nationality.

  • Case Study: The charity is helping more people like James in Liberia gain access to new technology and tools to support his fishing. James is now able to fish safely and sustainably thanks to compasses and GPS fish-tracking systems meaning he can find the best fishing spots and make his way home with an even bigger catch for his family.

  • Money raised for CAFOD this Lent will enable its local aid workers to reach vulnerable families like James’s with vital support. For example: £16 could buy a life jacket to keep a fisherman safe, £47 could buy a cooler for a fisher man to keep his catch fresh at sea, £120 could buy a GPS fish finder to track fish and find shore in a storm and £375 could buy tables for the community to use to fillet their fish.