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Davina McCall and her support for Action Medical Research

PUBLISHED: 10:52 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 14:58 05 November 2019

Davina McCall at last year's Dine with Davina event in Southampton (Photo: Lee Collier Photography)

Davina McCall at last year's Dine with Davina event in Southampton (Photo: Lee Collier Photography)

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Davina McCall is back in Southampton to host her annual charity fundraiser. She talks about her life-long support for children's charity Action Medical Research

Davina McCall was introduced to children's charity Action Medical Research when she was still a child herself.

And she has carried on that association with her annual lunch in Southampton, which last year raised £55,000 for the charity.

Davina's introduction to Action Medical Research was through her nan, Jean 'Pippy' McCall - who sadly passed away last June aged 98. Jean was chairwoman of a local Action committee in the 1960s. Davina would have been nine years old when she was brought along to her first fundraising event.

"I do remember helping out at a very young age in the Kent area," she says. "And then fast forward to my 20s, we did a few sponsored walks in Portsmouth which were always great fun.

"Action means a great deal to me. I love the fact that we're able to raise so many funds but also awareness with this ladies' lunch. I can't wait to see everyone in Southampton next month!"

Dine with Davina is a ladies' lunch which is hosted in Southampton each year by the TV star. Guests get to mingle and have their photograph taken with the presenter, before sitting down for a three-course dinner and hearing all about her year gone by. Last year's event attracted about 400 guests.

"I can't wait" says the host of The 100K Drop. "Honestly, it is such a blast. Hundreds of ladies get to enjoy a delicious dinner, listen to me ramble on for a bit and then have a boogie. Plus it helps raise funds for a fab cause. It's a win-win!"

The fundraiser has been held in the city since 2007 and this year, for the first time, it is being held at the home of Southampton FC: St Mary's Stadium.

As well as the drinks reception, three-course dinner and live musical entertainment there's also a charity auction for guests to enjoy with some incredible, money-can't-buy lots up for grabs. And who better to preside over the bidding than Hampshire's very own John Cameron?

The star of TV shows including Cash in The Attic, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and BBC's Bargain Hunt runs Nesbits Fine Art & Antique Auctions in Southsea.

Born in Portsmouth, John has been supporting Action since he first joined Davina's annual fundraiser.

"I think it's a fantastic charity," he says. "As a parent you become all too aware of the potential health problems that newborns and young children can develop.

"Action does a fantastic job funding research to help find future cures and I'm always delighted to lend my support whenever I can."

Action is a UK-wide children's charity which raises funds for research into a wide variety of illnesses and conditions that affect babies and children.

Founded in 1952, the charity has played a significant role in many medical breakthroughs, starting with the development of the first polio vaccines in the UK, later helping to develop the use of ultrasound in pregnancy and the rubella vaccine.

More recently, Action launched its Born Too Soon campaign for which Davina is an ambassador. The aim is to raise £1m by the end of 2020 to fund ground-breaking medical research that could go on to benefit millions.

2019's Dine with Davina is being held at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton on Friday 8 November. Tickets are £85 each or a table of ten is £795. You can find out more information by visiting action.org.uk/events/social-events/dine-davina-2019

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