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Red Nose Day donations break 3 million barrier

The comedy fundraiser, which supports children’s charities in developing countries, culminated in a five-hour TV extravaganza on Friday night, and included the live beard-shaving of Finland’s number one celebrity astronomer.

Video: Esko Valtaoja luopui parrastaan Nenäpäiväkeräyksen vuoksi.
Celebrity Astronomer Esko Valtaoja steps into the barber's chair for Red Nose Day Video: Yle

The five-hour Red Nose Day charity gala has raised over three million euros for humanitarian causes, beating last year’s total.

Finland’s version of the British Comic Relief fundraising campaign, now in its eighth year, was marked by special events and radio broadcasts across the country on Friday, and culminated in a live, five-hour TV extravaganza broadcast on Yle’s TV2.

Some of the country’s best-known entertainers took part in the comedy gala to raise money to help disadvantaged children in Africa, South Asia and the Americas.

Late in the evening Finland’s best-loved astronomer Esko Valtaoja stepped into the barber’s chair to fulfil a pledge to shave off his trademark beard should the campaign break the three-million-euro fundraising barrier.

Valtaoja, who has spent decades cultivating wild facial locks of which many a mad scientist would be proud, went under the trimmers live on air and emerged moments later baby-faced but smiling widely.

The fundraiser is administered by the national public broadcaster Yle’s Goodness Foundation, which raises money for nine humanitarian organisations. Donations can be made through the event website until the end of the year.

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