A host of A-list stars have thrown their weight behind a crusade to get lockdown schoolchildren online.
They star in a unique fundraising video for the charity which is helping pupils without internet access to study from home.
The extraordinary line-up, which also includes Lord (Andrew) Lloyd Webber, Dame Emma Thompson and Stephen Fry, share a mock Zoom-style online get-together.
In one funny scene, Beckham urges action to raise money for the Computers for Kids campaign – but host Walliams accidentally switches him off.
Then he returns to the screen along with the other top stars – including a lord, four knights and three dames from the worlds of entertainment, sport and celebrity cooking.
The film starts with Beckham telling viewers: ‘Right now, millions of Britain’s children need us to take action.’
Stephen Fry adds: ‘Action to make sure they get the education they deserve.’
To the tune of Elvis’s A Little Less Conversation, they urge ‘a little more action’.
David Beckham says that ‘millions of Britain’s children need us to take action’ as he joined the Mail Force campaign
David Walliams comperes the Zoom call with 30 of our biggest stars in a unique fundraising video released today
Sir Ian McKellen, Helena Bonham Carter, Judy Murray, Tom Hollander, David Walliams, Naomi Campbell, Rachel Riley, Stephen Fry and Dame Emma Thompson in the call (pictured top left to bottom right)
The stars coming out for Mail Force
The stars join a celeb-packed Zoom call to back Mail Force
1. Lord (Andrew) Lloyd Webber, composer and theatre impresario
2. Anna Friel, Golden Globe winning actress
3. Sir Cliff Richards, musician
4. Sir Clive Woodward, coach of World Cup-winning England rugby team
5. David Beckham, former England football captain
6. David Walliams, comedian and children’s author
7. Dame Emma Thompson, Oscar-winning actress
8. Grayson Perry, artist, writer and broadcaster
9. Gyles Brandreth, writer and broadcaster
10. Helena Bonham Carter, award-winning actress
11. Sir Ian McKellen, veteran actor and recipient of seven Laurence Olivier Awards
12. James Martin, TV chef
13. Jamie Redknapp, former Liverpool FC and England footballer
14. Dame Jenni Murray, broadcaster
15. Jeremy Vine, BBC Radio 2 host
16. Dame Joan Collins, actress and author
17. Judy Murray, tennis coach and mother of Sir Andy Murray
18. Marco Pierre White, celebrity chef
19. Max Whitlock, five-time Olympic medallist gymnast
20. Micah Richards, footballer
21. Naomi Campbell, supermodel
22. Nasser Hussain, former England cricket captain
23. Peter Crouch, footballer
24. Rachel Riley, Countdown presenter
25. Sir Salman Rushdie, author
26. Simon Callow, actor and director
27. Stephen Fry, actor, comedian and writer
28. Tom Hollander, actor
29. Jim Carter, actor
30. Ralph Fiennes, actor
With schools shut, and a third of British families lacking enough devices to get pupils online, the ‘digital divide’ is having a catastrophic effect on education.
With countless youngsters falling behind, the clarion call from the likes of Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Clive Woodward and Helena Bonham Carter in the video is simple: act now!
Computers for Kids was launched to get laptop computers and 4G connectivity to schoolchildren as quickly as possible.
It only launched in the last week of January yet has quickly caught the imagination of the public. Thousands have sent online donations and cheques, often with poignant messages of support – including a striking number from retired teachers.
The Government is working hard to get 1.3million laptops to schools but there are still hundreds of thousands of children who desperately need help.
Mail Force – which was originally set up in 2020 to get life-saving PPE to nurses and doctors – is now raising money for the crusade to stamp out the digital divide. It is buying new laptop computers and refurbishing ones donated by companies among a number of initiatives to help lockdown pupils follow their online lessons.
In the video, former England football captain Beckham says children should not be ‘isolated from their friends’ – just as party host Walliams accidentally boots him out of the online meeting. The apologetic comedian shouts: ‘Oh no, I think I’ve just cut off David Beckham!’
The Computers for Kids celebrities video is one of the biggest ever collaborations of British talent to support a charity.
The cream of UK stardom laugh and chat in the Zoom-style grid of their faces – with each camera giving a fascinating glimpse inside their homes.
The video gently pokes fun at Hollywood actress Dame Joan, with comedian Walliams chiding her: ‘Dame Joan, your lounge is nearly as glamorous as you are!’
Football stars Peter Crouch, Micah Richards and Jamie Redknapp, and celebrity chefs Marco Pierre White and James Martin help encourage viewers to donate money.
At the end of the video, Walliams ‘shares his screen’ to show the others the brilliant result – photos of Mail Force delivering new laptops to smiling schoolchildren.
He exhorts: ‘Come on Britain, let’s get an A+ for action!’
The stars urge viewers to use their mobile phones to text donations to the Computers for Kids campaign.
By texting KIDS10 to 70115, they can donate £10. Or it is KIDS20 to donate £20.
Donations can also be made online by clicking HERE .
Mail Force’s Computers for Kids campaign, backed by the Daily Mail, only launched at the end of last month, but has already raised £7million in cash and laptop donations.
As well as buying new machines, donated devices from companies can be repurposed for the classroom.
David Walliams speaks to supermodel Naomi Campbell who has also backed the campaign to get more British children connected
For around £15 they can be expertly refurbished fit for home schooling use.
All of the new laptops the charity is funding are on top of the 1.3million being bought by the Government.
The Mail Force devices are being gifted to the Government and schools can apply for them in the normal way through the Department for Education website.
The campaign’s computers will boost the overall number available, helping more and more pupils keep up with schoolwork.
And even when the pandemic restrictions are lifted, the extraordinary effort to furnish children with laptops will have a lasting effect.
It will help youngsters to catch up with their missed learning, and the overall legacy will last for years.
Research suggests this generation of children whose education has been stalled could suffer up to £40,000 in lost earnings over their lifetime as a result.
Mail Force was set up last year to help get PPE to nurses and doctors who desperately needed it. Now the charity is determined to ride to the rescue of schoolchildren.
Big companies such as Camelot, Lloyds, Sainsbury’s, Direct Line, Peak Scientific and Dixons Carphone have pledged to help, along with philanthropists such as Sir Tom Hunter.
But there have also been donations, big and small, from generous readers who want to make a difference to a child’s life.
Donations can also be made online by clicking HERE .
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Mail Force yesterday struck a mammoth £1million deal for new computers for lockdown pupils. The laptops will go to 5,000 of Britain’s most needy schoolchildren and will arrive in several batches over two weeks – starting on Monday. (Above, pupils from Moston Fields, Manchester)
Mail Force has ordered more than 3,000 Samsung Chromebook 4 devices. These sleek machines are heralded as among the most easy to use on the market, getting children online quickly and easily
HOW TO DONATE TO COMPUTERS FOR KIDS
TO YOU, THE READER: How to send us donations
The Daily Mail has launched a brand new campaign, Computers For Kids, to raise money for Mail Force – a charity which aims to provide much needed school equipment and resources for pupils across the UK learning from home.
With schools closed, we are left with the dilemma of hundreds of thousands of pupils in the UK having no access to a computer in their home.
As part of this campaign, companies are donating their old laptops which, for around £15, can be wiped, professionally refurbished and made safe and fit for home schooling. They can then be delivered to a child or young person who needs one.
In addition, the campaign is looking to support children’s needs in other ways such as funding brand new laptops and tablets, and assisting with data access and connectivity for online learning. Any surplus funds will be used to support of the work of UK schools via other means.
TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE
Visit mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate and follow the steps to complete your donation.
Please don’t send us your old device.
TO MAKE A DONATION VIA YOUR PHONE
To donate £10 – text KIDS10 to 70115
To donate £20 – text KIDS20 to 70115
TO COMPANIES: Could you give your old laptops?
Upgrading office computers is something all companies do from time to time – and there has never been a better time to donate old laptops. If you are a company with 50 laptops or more that you could give, please visit www.computacenter.com/daily-mail to check they are suitable and register your donation. We will arrange for collection by our specialist partners Computacenter. Please note: we cannot accept donated laptops from individuals.
COMPANIES SHOULD GO TO: computacenter.com/daily-mail
TO SCHOOLS: Where to apply for the computers
Schools must apply to the Department for Education, which is managing the demand and prioritising the schools most in need. The Mail Force initiative means more laptops will become available more quickly.
SCHOOLS CAN APPLY HERE: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk