UK News

Eamonn Holmes takes ice bucket challenge for motor neurone disease

Sir Ian McKellan with Eamonn Holmes after his ice bucket challenge. Picture courtesy of ITV's This Morning  
Jennifer Maloney and Eleanor Bley Griffiths

EAMONN Holmes was left drenched and freezing after Sir Ian McKellen and Ruth Langsford dumped buckets of ice water over his head on ITV's This Morning.

The Belfast-born broadcaster was taking part in the ice bucket challenge, which was a social media phenomenon in 2014, in aid of motor neurone disease.

Holmes pledged to complete the challenge while presenting a Pride of Britain award on Tuesday evening to Paula Maguire, a midwife from Barnsley.

Sir Ian, who was also presenting the award, asked: "Can I come along?"

Holmes pledged to take the ice bucket challenge in memory of the father of his former Sky News colleague Charlotte Hawkins who recently died of MND.    

 

Mrs Maguire, who lost an uncle to MND, and her husband Robert are credited with bringing the ice bucket challenge to the UK.

The couple set up a justgiving page for the MND Association which eventually raised more than £7 million.

Speaking over the phone, Mrs Maguire advised that Holmes (55), should go topless for the challenge, although he opted to wear a navy polo shirt.

Out on the balcony of the building on London's Embankment, the veteran 76-year-old actor was shown advising an apprehensive Holmes not to back out: "The nation would know, darling, they all heard you promise it. No, I think you'd better be a brave boy."

He added: "I've done it, it's quite bracing" - giving the broadcaster the option of having him and Langsford each throw a bucket in his face, or tip them over his head.

"That wasn't so bad, was it?" Sir Ian asked after dumping out the water. As a stunned-looking Holmes was unable to speak, the actor added: "Eamonn Holmes speechless - we've all longed for that."

Langsford (55) then gave her husband and co-presenter a kiss on the head and offered to have Sir Ian present the show if Holmes comes down with pneumonia.

Asked to give his three nominations for who should complete the challenge within the next 24 hours, he nominated Sir Alex Ferguson (twice) and This Morning editor Martin Frizell.

Between 100 and120 people are living with the terminal disease in Northern Ireland while at any one time up to 5,000 adults across the UK are affected by it. 

There is no known cause or cure for the disease which attacks the nerves controlling movement so muscles refuse to work while sensory nerves usually remain unaffected. Life expectancy for the disease is between two and five years.

MND is also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease in the United States and while classified as a rare disease it came to a wider public attention following the global phenomenon of the ice bucket challenge last summer.

Earlier this week, the Northern Ireland branch of the Motor Neurone Disease Association held a civic reception at Belfast City Hall.

The civic reception culminated in the council building being illuminated in the MND colours of blue and orange. 

UK News

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