Sport Relief 2018!

Since its conception in 2002, Sport Relief has grown year on year, bringing together the worlds of sport and entertainment to raise money, helping vulnerable people in both the UK and some of the world’s poorest countries.

For the first time ever, Sport Relief are asking the entire nation to take on a huge collective challenge – beating a billion steps a day, every day, from 17th-23rd March. A host of famous BBC faces including Zoe Ball, Greg James and Alex Jones will lead the charge and take on their own epic challenges to raise money and inspire the public to make their steps count as part of Team Sport Relief. And, if that wasn’t enough, a brand new Sport Relief App will unlock exclusive celebrity content and ensure every step counts across the week.

Running, dancing, dog walking or Zumba-ing all count towards the step total as the nation comes together to raise money and help vulnerable people, across the UK and the world, to live happier, healthier and safer lives. Last time around, for Sport Relief 2016, the generous people across Essex raised and donated more than £2.1m. This money has been hard at work in the local area, with more than 260 projects funded across the county.

To help the nation keep track of their hard-earned steps and ensure they count towards the national total, the brand new Sport Relief App will be available to download for free. Packed with innovative challenges, exclusive celebrity content and a national step tracker, it will also include countless ways to get active and raise money for Sport Relief.
Liz Warner, CEO of Comic Relief, said: “Sport Relief gets us all donning our trainers and taking on all types of sporty challenges or running a mile at school to help raise funds. 

“In 2018 we have more British celebrities than ever pushing themselves to the limit to help us raise money for Sport Relief, which gives fifty percent of funds to the UK and the other fifty percent to the most desperate communities in the world.

“This is the first time we have asked the nation to take up a collective challenge and we can’t wait to see how many steps we can all do - let's hit a billion steps and get more donations and sponsors coming in to help others.”

Whether taking part for fun or fitness, the public can show their support for Sport Relief by getting kitted out in the limited edition merchandise, available from 15th February, from official partner Sainsbury’s and at

On Friday 23rd March, Sport Relief will be aired live from Salford on BBC One, where viewers can expect a brilliant night of TV action. The night will include incredible boxing bouts, as celebrities take to the ring and go toe-to-toe after months of hard-hitting training. Spencer Matthews, Wayne Bridge, Vanessa White and Hannah Spearritt are getting ready to rumble, with plenty more names and exciting telly treats to be announced.

Basildon Sporting Village home to Olympians

Essex Olympians choose the Basildon Sporting Village as their home… Essex is becoming quite a national sporting hub of late; firstly with the Essex County Cricket team winning their first Championship in 25 years last September, and now world famous Olympic gymnasts basing their training at Basildon Sporting Village. The Essex-based gymnasts, Max Whitlock and Reiss Beckford, have been teammates for a few years but now face the challenge of becoming competitors, with Beckford recently deciding to represent Jamaica. The 25-year-old won three silver medals for England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games but has subsequently switched to represent the country where his father was born and raised, with the ultimate goal to become the first male Jamaican gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Games. Beckford told the Time & Star: “South Essex is an amazing place to train at the moment. There’s Olympic medallists and kids all training together and the best thing is, to them, we’re not superstars, we’re just regular guys.” “Max has been phenomenal once again – his preparations have been brilliant and he hasn’t changed at all since Rio, laughing and joking with everyone else in the gym.” See the Essex Olympians take part in a entertaining challenge at Basildon Sporting Village – they make it look easy! Meanwhile, Britain’s most decorated male gymnast, Max Whitlock, has recently opened up a gymnastics club at Southend’s Thorpe Hall School. The five-time Olympic medallist has created the programme with his coach, Leah Hickton, and will introduce students to gymnastics where he will be sharing his experiences to inspire children aged 4 – 7 and 8 and over.

Exclusive: Southend United New Stadium Plans

After well over a decade of planning to update their football stadium, Southend United’s relocation could finally be happening. To get people excited and show their support, the EFL League Two football club have recently released an exclusive video for their new stadium, which is set to exceed the capacity of the Colchester Community Stadium and become the biggest in Essex. The new stadium plans date back to 3rd August 2006, when the local media reported that work was to start in 2007 on a £25 million 22,000 super stadium, on a nearby site at Fossetts Farm on the outskirts of Southend.  The original plans for the new ground were designed by Populous, formerly known as HOK Sport, the company responsible for Arsenal’s incredible Emirates Stadium and Sydney’s Telstra Stadium which hosted the 2000 Olympics and the London 2012 Olympic stadium. Populous, have also been involved in the building of the new Wembley Stadium. Populous, architects to Wembley Stadium, the London Olympic Stadium and the new home for Southend United FC, said “The way in which Southend United have integrated homes, business, leisure and sport together under one roof is a global first. This is a brilliant and innovative development”. However, in the last ten years, construction for the stadium at Fossetts Farm has been delayed for a number of reasons; one being the discovering of the Saxon King’s cousin Barry in May 2017 just a few days after handing in a revamped proposal in April.

Activewear trends for 2018

The athleisure trend continues to grow with luxury fitness pieces taking the modern woman from a fitness class to brunch with the girls. The activewear retailers Fashercise has reported record figures for 2017, showing a 100% increase in sales in December 2016 and 70% in January. The founders of the company Alexandra Vanthournout and Camille Roegiers share with us their top trend tips for 2018. Boxing “Boxing is having a huge moment right now, as it has become more mainstream and female friendly (Kobox on King’s Road, Rumble at 1Rebel and online platform The Boxx Method are just a few new launches which have helped push the sport in a new direction). Last year we saw a 130% increase in sales of our gorgeous Fab by Fabienne gold star boxing gloves, and this trend is set to continue for 2018!” Seamless Activewear “Seamless activewear has been a huge trend this season and it looks like it is here to stay for good. Wearing knitted pieces for your workout is not just incredibly comfortable, but the yarns used are high performance, featuring compression and antibacterial properties. They flatter the figure and are also perfect for travelling and lounging. We’ve noticed that, when a customer has tried it once, they are converted for life! Cult London brand LNDR remain the master of seamless clothing, but many of our other brands now offer a seamless collection too.” Statement Bras “Sports bras are no longer just functional items but a statement piece in themselves. More and more women are daring to bare and wear supportive crop tops on their own instead of covering up their bras – these can also easily be worn within your everyday wardrobe, which we love! Brands like Michi, Varley and We Are Handsome continuously make stylish, luxurious bras which are as beautiful as they are supportive. From cut out detailing, prints, mesh or statement straps – we think it’s time to give the sports bra the love they deserve!”

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