Celeb snapshots put UK’s leading charities in the frame

14 September 2010

Celebrities and photographers including Alexandra Burke, Gordon Ramsay, Dame Judi Dench and Mario Testino have created images for a new photography exhibition to mark the UK’s largest cross-charity campaign.

The Legacies through a Lens exhibition at the OXO gallery in London is open to the public as part of Remember A Charity Week, 13 – 19 September, featuring more than 40 photographs, many of which have been taken by or include the charities’ celebrity supporters.

Remember A Charity Week aims to highlight the importance of gifts left to charity when writing a will. The exhibition is helping to raise awareness through a series of photographs, capturing how gifts in wills let charities live on.

Celebrated fashion photographer Mario Testino appears with a crowd of children in a vibrant photo taken while on a Save the Children trip to his native Peru. Mario said, “As a supporter of Save the Children I always feel any charity to do with children is the main and most important project where anyone can help. We can make a real difference as we are helping at the core of life – where people are at the beginning of their lives, when learning and adapting is the easiest and the best results are seen.”

Other images include a photograph taken by Alexandra Burke on her recent trip to Haiti for Save The Children, a picture taken by Dame Judi Dench for The College of St Barnabas and an image of Nell McAndrew’s Grandfather for Age UK. Esther Rantzen also submitted a photograph of her family in support of NSPCC.

Other celebrities supporting the campaign include actor Timothy Spall whose photographs capture his experiences on board an RNLI vessel, Virginia McKenna who is shown with the Lion named ‘Girl’ for the Born Free Foundation and Gordon Ramsay who took a photograph for the Scottish Spina Bifida Association.

Gordon said “My photograph is of 6 year old Beau Rendall, who was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, at a recent fun day organised by the Scottish Spina Bifida Association. As honorary patron of the Association, I love this photo as it shows Beau, despite his disabilities, enjoying life. Inclusive fun days like these, would not have been possible if the Association had not been left a legacy in 2005 that allowed them to build a new family support centre and expand their support services to over 3000 people in Scotland.

“The Association’s aim is simple – to empower all those affected by spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus to reach their full potential. What more could you want for any child?”

Charitable donations in wills are the foundation of many of Britain’s charities, creating nearly £2 billion each year, the equivalent of 25 Comic Reliefs. Without this income most charities’ services would suffer; others would simply not exist. Yet despite 74% of people regularly supporting a charity in their lifetime, only 7% of people who have written a will include a gift to charity.

Stephen George, Chair of Remember A Charity, said: “Many people in the UK don’t realise that they can give money to charities in this way. But the truth is, after looking after family and friends, a small share of whatever is left can make a real difference to charities and the invaluable work they do. The Legacies Through A Lens exhibition during Remember A Charity Week aims to raise awareness of the importance of gifts in wills to charity.”

Remember A Charity Week, 13-19 September 2010, is an awareness week organised by charity consortia Remember A Charity, which aims to shine a light on the importance of leaving a gift when writing a will to the 140 charities they represent. Currently only 7% of those that have wills go on to remember a charity.