Celebrities back great lockdown laptop drive

Star force! Celebrities back great lockdown laptop drive to help disadvantaged children in hilarious online video

  • A team of celebrities have now shared their support for the Mail Force drive 
  • Campaign aims to get all Britain’s children learning through the lockdown  
  • Film raising funds and awareness for the charity’s Computers for Kids campaign

This time last week, they were thrilled to receive life-enhancing Mail Force laptops which will make all the difference to their education and their prospects.

Now pupils of Manchester’s Moston Fields Primary School have another reason to smile.

For they find themselves starring in a video alongside David Beckham, David Walliams, Helena Bonham-Carter, Stephen Fry and umpteen other celebrity supporters of the great Mail Force drive to get all Britain’s children learning through lockdown.

Packed with many of our favourite stars of film, television, sport and the arts, the new film is raising both funds and awareness for the charity’s Computers for Kids campaign. It hit social media channels yesterday and proved an instant hit.

David Beckham was among the celebrity supporters of the great Mail Force drive to get all Britain’s children learning through lockdown

Among those starring in the video call were writer Salman Rushdie (left) and actress Anna Friel (right)

Singer Cliff Richard (top left), footballer Peter Crouch (top right), actor Tom Hollander (bottom left) and presenter Rachel Riley (bottom right) shared their support for the drive

Introduced by the comedian and children’s author, David Walliams, it turns in to an online Zoom-style group chat featuring dozens of famous faces.

At one point, Walliams accidentally cuts off David Beckham. He goes on to compliment Dame Joan Collins on her elegant backdrop: ‘Dame Joan, your lounge is nearly as glamorous as you are!’

Those who have enjoyed watching everyone from the Queen to their work colleagues broadcasting from home during this pandemic, will doubtless enjoy seeing dozens of celebrities – singer Sir Cliff Richard, supermodel Naomi Campbell, film stars including Dame Emma Thompson, Sir Ian McKellen and Ralph Fiennes plus footballers like Micah Richards, Jamie Redknapp and Peter Crouch and many more – all doing the same.

Some have gone to great trouble in advance while others are more ‘au naturel’ but all are keen to make the same point.

The online Zoom-style group chat was introduced by the comedian and children’s author David Walliams

Former footballer Jamie Redknapp (left) and actor Sir Ian McKellen (right) also shared their support

Musician Andrew Lloyd Webber (left) and actress Joan Collins (right) shared their support for the Computers For Kids initiative

Stephen Fry (left) and former footballer Micah Richards (right)  were among the stars in the video call

Jeremy Vine (left) and Helena Bonham Carter (right) were among the stars making an appearance on the call

Artist Grayson Perry (left) and actor Simon Callow (right) starred in the video appeal

Chef Marco Pierre White (left) and actress Emma Thompson (right) made an appearance on the Zoom call

‘Let’s act,’ they all conclude, accompanied by the Elvis Presley hit, A Little Less Conversation. Within hours, the two-minute film had clocked up millions of hits and widespread praise.

Writing on Twitter, the actress, Anna Friel declared: ‘Proud to support the Computers For Kids initiative which is committed to help get every child in Britain the necessary computers, data connections and knowledge to be able to effectively get an education during lockdown.’

‘Children’s education is so important for their futures,’ wrote Countdown’s Rachel Riley. ‘Can’t stress how much I’m for this campaign to help!’

Though the end result might look deceptively straightforward, the two-minute video involved collating hours of footage from participants scattered all over the world in a variety of time zones. 

And behind the badinage is a very serious message, illustrated when David Walliams redirects the camera to some of the grateful faces at Moston Fields Primary School. 

Last week, as Mail readers will have seen, pupils from the school were among the early beneficiaries of the Computers For Kids programme. 

Last night, the teacher in charge of computer learning, Amy Cooke, said that the children were delighted to be in the video – and even happier to be joining their classmates online.

‘It’s a really great video. It’s also a reminder why this is so important,’ explained Amy. ‘These laptops make a huge difference, not only to learning but to the social side, too. 

Actor Ralph Fiennes (left) and model Naomi Campbell (right) starred in the two-minute video 

The two-minute video, which also starred journalist Jenni Murray (left) and gymnast Max Whitlock (right), involved collating hours of footage from participants scattered all over the world 

Former England cricket captain Nasser Hussain (left) and actor Jim Carter (right) shared their support

Chef James Martin (left) and former rugby union player Sir Clive Woodward (right) 

‘It means these children can not only join in properly but I can then go back over things with them afterwards to check that they have understood everything. It’s very good for their self-esteem, too.’

Through the Mail Force charity, the campaign is helping Britain’s teachers bridge a very serious digital divide and reach the children who lack adequate computers or connectivity – or both.

The Department for Education is doing all it can with its impressive drive to supply 1.3million devices, but, with global demand for equipment at a peak, Mail Force’s help is vital. 

That’s why we are asking British businesses to donate surplus computer equipment which can be refurbished and reissued to a child for a fraction of the cost of new machinery.

It was just three weeks ago that the new campaign was launched in aid of Mail Force, the charity created by this newspaper at the start of the pandemic. Back then, the urgent need was to provide protective equipment for Britain’s health workers. Now it is to revive the life chances of hundreds of thousands of children.

In less than a month, the appeal has already received pledges of more than £10million in cash and laptops from businesses, philanthropists and our generous readers – a notable number of them teachers and former teachers. 

Some of Britain’s best-known institutions, including Sainsbury’s and Lloyds Bank, have donated thousands of computers which will be completely erased, restored and redistributed by our expert IT partners.

The new video appeal is designed to build on all this astonishing momentum and help children whose education has been seriously damaged by this pandemic. 

The impact of the scheme is both instant and really rather moving. Just ask the pupils at Moston Fields. ‘Before I was struggling on my Mum’s phone and I couldn’t sign in to Google meetings,’ said nine-year-old Luana Morais. ‘Now, I can see everyone in class and I can go through my work with my teacher again. Thank you.’

With apologies to all the celebrities involved but that, surely, is the most powerful message of all.



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.


Visit mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate and follow the steps to complete your donation. 

Please don’t send us your old device.


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

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