After a gruelling 115 mile journey to home to Bolton in just four days, Vernon Kay has raised over £5 million for Children in Need. 

The BBC Two broadcaster completed an ultra-marathon challenge in aid of the charity yesterday, which he described as "one of the most painful and joyous experiences I've ever had".

Messenger Newspapers:

He arrived at the finishing line, Bolton Wanderers, at 10.10am, after stopping off at St Joseph's RC High School, his old school.

@theboltonnews What an amazing journey #Vernon has been on! 😍Such an epic entrance. See our coverage from the day here: #vernonkay #boltonwanderers #bolton #childreninneed ♬ original sound - The Bolton News

Despite the long day, Vernon made an appearance on the live show last night where he was told his hard work had raised £5,067,847.

To this he replied,  “Wow, speechless”.


Well done Vernon!

♬ original sound - The Bolton News

Ahead of the live show, he told The Bolton News that it was the community spirit and bananas that got him to the finish line.

Messenger Newspapers: Credit: James WatkinsCredit: James Watkins

There were 400 members of the public who cheered Vernon on in anticipation of his arrival, after receiving tickets to be there in a free ballot.

 Vernon said that he was trying to hold his emotions back because he knew he would get emotional on the last day, but it hit him when he crossed the finish line.

He said at the finish line: "Physically, mentally, there’s nothing in the tank." he declared after reaching the finish line, with parents Gladys and Norman watching on. "Is there anyone here who can replace a knee?"

After crossing, he said:  “I spent a lot of time with Steve The Bucket whose a Royal Marine, and was our bucket carrier.

Messenger Newspapers: Vernon is reunited with old school friends and teachers

“And I had an insight into what it’s like – only an insight – to be a Royal Marine, and how mentally strong and prepared they are, and that helped on Wednesday a lot.

“And then when I came in it just all went out the window.

“I’m like hold it together, hold it together, no it’s not gonna happen.

Messenger Newspapers: Hundreds of St Joseph RC High School Pupils wait for Vernon to arrive

“But who cares?

“£4m for Children in Need, that’s what it’s all about.

“We’re gonna help a lot of people with that.”

He added: “And we’re not talking about people donating.

Messenger Newspapers: Vernon Kay completes his Ultra Ultra Marathon Challenge for BBC Children in Need on BBC Radio 2 at the Toughsheet Community Stadium in Bolton on Friday 17th November 2023.

Photo by James Watkins

“We’re talking about people coming out and openly being happy and joyous, and saying lovely things, and not holding back.

“It’s been broad spanning, and it’s that, that’s been amazing.”

Among those waiting for him at the finishing line was Barbara, who wrote to Vernon praising his Radio 2 show and sent him a message of encouragement. 

Messenger Newspapers:

Helen Thomas, Head of Radio 2, gave a special thank you to the people of Bolton for their support.

She said: "The whole BBC Radio 2 and BBC Children in Need teams have been overwhelmed by the reception we have had in Bolton. 

"From all the people who cheered for Vernon on the streets to all of those who watched Zoe Ball’s Breakfast Show from the Bolton Wanderers ground this morning, we could not have had a warmer welcome on a cold November morning. 

"Thank you to everyone who showed up to support our hero on his Children in Need journey to raise millions of pounds for a very worthy cause and thanks so much to the Radio 2 listeners, whose generous donations will make a huge different to the lives of children in need around the UK.” 

This years Children in Need raised £33,513,325 to improve the lives of disadvantaged children and young people around the UK.

You can still donate at

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