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Sunday, 24 January 2021

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WaterAid brings showbiz stars straight to homes with virtual Christmas during #UKCharityWeek

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WATERAID is hosting a star-studded virtual ‘Christmas Get Together’ during #UKCharityWeek on Tuesday 8 December from 6.30pm, bringing seasonal songs, festive readings and special performances to people’s homes to raise money for the charity’s Future on Tap appeal.

The virtual gala will be hosted by The Three Degrees singer Sheila Ferguson. Joining the merriment will be actors Tobias Menzies and Dougray Scott, singer-songwriters KT Tunstall, Katie Melua, Cerys Matthews and Joe Stilgoe, harpist-composer Catrin Finch, and actor and broadcaster Sir Tony Robinson. Composer Sir Richard Stilgoe has penned an original song for the concert, and London-based primary schools will sing the Christmas classic ‘Little Donkey’.

While the concert will be free to watch, WaterAid is encouraging the public to donate what they might have spent on a festive night out.

Proceeds will go towards the charity’s Future on Tap appeal, which aims to raise £3 million to transform thousands of lives with clean water across the world. The UK government will match public donations before 4 February 2021, up to £2 million, making double the difference in climate-vulnerable communities.

Just £10, roughly the cost of a short taxi ride, would pay for 2.5 metres of pipe to bring water to a community, and with matched funding, the donation could go twice as far. A donation of £140, the cost of a big night out, could power a pump with a solar panel, and with the UK government doubling it, the donation would mean £280 for clean water projects.

One in ten people globally do not have clean water, and erratic and extreme weather brought on climate change is making it much harder for the world’s most vulnerable people to get clean water. Access to clean water helps keep people healthy and resilient to the effects of climate change.

Actor and WaterAid Ambassador Tobias Menzies (‘The Crown’, ‘Outlander’, and ‘Game of Thrones’) will deliver a festive reading.

Tobias Menzies said:

“It’s easy to take clean water for granted, but one in ten people lack access to this basic human right, and our changing climate is making life even harder for poor communities around the world. With clean water on tap, people’s lives and livelihoods are protected. They can meet their basic needs, stay safe and healthy, have time to go to school or work, and can grow food even when the weather is unpredictable. I’m proud to support WaterAid’s Future on Tap appeal and excited to be part of its Christmas concert; the money raised will help bring clean water to thousands of families, transforming lives for good.”

BRIT and Ivor Novello award-winning Scottish singer-songwriter, KT Tunstall, (‘Suddenly I See’, ‘Black Horse and The Cherry Tree’), will perform a classic seasonal number. Earlier this year, KT released a catchy single, ‘Wash Ya Hands’ to raise funds for WaterAid and War Child.

KT Tunstall said:

“Christmas will be a bit different this year, so I’m excited to be performing at WaterAid’s concert to bring some festive joy into people’s homes while raising money to help transform people’s lives. The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of clean water and good handwashing to prevent the spread of diseases. It’s shocking that millions of people don’t have clean water at home and nowhere to wash their hands properly. The changing climate means the people in the world’s poorest places are struggling even more to access water. WaterAid’s Future on Tap appeal will help bring clean water to thousands around the world, improving health and building resilience for whatever tomorrow brings.”

Actor Dougray Scott (‘Ripley’s Game’, ‘Enigma’, ‘My Week with Marilyn’) and WaterAid Ambassador, who has visited WaterAid’s work in Mozambique, will read Snow-Flakes by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Dougray Scott said:

“Having seen how WaterAid’s work has transformed lives during my visit to Mozambique in 2018, I’m delighted to support the charity’s new appeal, Future on Tap. While we can’t celebrate Christmas together physically, the concert will be a powerful way of uniting people to support a good cause. It’s really unacceptable that so many people are denied clean water, and are now having to contend with a changing climate, making it even harder for communities to access clean water. Let’s all make a real difference in people’s lives by supporting the charity’s appeal.”

One of Britain’s most successful recording artists, selling more than 11 million albums, Katie Melua (‘The Closest Thing to Crazy’, ‘Nine Million Bicycles’, and ‘A Love Like That’) will perform a cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ for the concert.

Katie Melua said:

“I’m thrilled to be performing at WaterAid’s Christmas concert. It’s been a trying year for everyone, so it’s great we can still come together and celebrate while supporting a good cause. Clean water is a basic human right, yet millions of people live without it. As a result, women and children have to spend hours each day collecting water so dirty it could make them sick. WaterAid’s Future on Tap appeal will help bring clean water to thousands of people around the world, improving health, getting kids back into school and affording women the chance to earn a living.”

Catrin Finch, WaterAid Ambassador and the former Royal Harpist to HRH, The Prince of Wales, will play a stunning rendition of ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’. In 2015 Catrin visited WaterAid’s work in Ethiopia and in the same year released a self-composed album (‘Tides’) in support of the international charity.

Catrin Finch said:

“Music is such an intrinsic part of Christmas celebrations, and I’m delighted to be joining this virtual festive fundraising concert. The Future on Tap appeal is very close to my heart as I have seen first-hand how WaterAid’s vital work is transforming lives in Ethiopia. It’s a terrible injustice that 785 million people don’t have clean water, affecting their health, education and livelihoods; and now climate change is making life even harder. Together, we can help make a real difference to people’s lives around the world.”

With a theatre, broadcasting, and cabaret career spanning more than five decades, Sir Richard Stilgoe, (‘Cats’, ‘Starlight Express’, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’) will read a ditty he has composed especially for WaterAid.

Sir Richard Stilgoe said:

“It’s appalling that millions of people live without clean water. Being denied this basic human right has a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods. Having supported WaterAid for many, many years, I’m extremely committed to the work they do and have seen the real difference clean water makes to people’s lives in the communities I’ve visited with the charity, including those in Ethiopia. Even though we’re celebrating virtually, music is a great way to bring people together. It’s been such a challenging year for many; I hope people can find a way join this fantastic concert and support WaterAid’s Future on Tap appeal so that together, we can help get clean water to those who need it most.”

Sir Tony Robinson, actor and presenter who fronted Channel 4’s ‘Time Team’ will read a contemporary Christmas poem.

Sir Tony Robinson said:

“WaterAid’s Future on Tap appeal will provide clean water to thousands of families around the world. That’s why I’m supporting their Christmas get together online this year. In coming together virtually, we can help transform the lives of people living in the poorest places, so that they have access to clean water both now and in the future.”

To receive your link to watch the concert, you can register and donate at WaterAid’s website at: https://www.wateraid.org/uk/christmas-concert

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