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Radio DJ Arielle Free raises over £500,000 in Comic Relief cycling challenge

Radio 1 host Arielle Free has raised a total of £561,667 for Comic Relief with her Red Nose Day cycling challenge.

The 34-year-old early breakfast host cycled for 50 hours across five cities in five days all while DJing, in what was dubbed the Tour de Dance.

After cycling through York, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool on a specially adapted 10-person bike with DJ decks, Free completed the challenge on Thursday.

On Friday it was revealed that the Scottish broadcaster has raised a total of £561,667 so far.

During the challenge, which saw extreme weather conditions including snow and freezing temperatures, Free was joined by Radio 1 listeners as well as some of the station’s most recognisable faces including Vick Hope, Matt Edmondson, Jordan North, Katie Thistleton and Clara Amfo.

Free also received well-wishes from a number of celebrities, including Calvin Harris and Tom Grennan who modified his hit song Little Bit Of Love to become Liverpool In Love in support of Free.

After crossing the finish line in Liverpool, Free was brought to tears and later joined an emotional Hope and North – who present the Radio 1 weekday drivetime slot – to discover how much she had raised so far.

“I’m utterly speechless, to raise over half a million pounds for such an amazing cause, I just don’t know what to say,” said Free.

Radio 1’s early breakfast host Arielle Free with Vick Hope and Jordan North at the finish line during the last leg of the Comic Relief Tour de Dance challenge in Liverpool (Sam Ratcliffe/Comic Relief/PA)
Radio 1’s early breakfast host Arielle Free with Vick Hope and Jordan North at the finish line during the last leg of the Comic Relief Tour de Dance challenge in Liverpool (Sam Ratcliffe/Comic Relief/PA)

“This has truly been the toughest thing I have ever done in my life and there were days where I was genuinely so concerned I wouldn’t get through it.

“I’ve had to dig deeper than ever before, and I know I wouldn’t have made it to the finish line without the support of those who joined me on the bike and by you at home who have done nothing but spur me on. Thank you.”

North said: “All the Radio 1 family are so proud of Arielle, she’s proven this week how amazing she is.

“We all know and love her for her funny and infectious personality on air, so it’s been really tough to hear how broken she’s been at times.

“I was on that bike for just two hours and it was awful, the weather has been horrific but what she has achieved this week is nothing short of incredible.

“Thank you to the wonderful Radio 1 listeners who have reached into their pockets and helped spur our girl on. You always amaze us and we will forever be grateful for your generosity.”

Money raised by the Tour de Dance challenge for Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day will help those affected by the cost-of-living crisis and tackle issues such as homelessness, mental health problems and food poverty in the UK and across the world.

Red Nose Day returns to BBC One on March 17 with hosts AJ Odudu, David Tennant, Joel Dommett, Paddy McGuinness and Zoe Ball.

Donations can still be made for the Tour de Dance with Arielle Free via the Comic Relief website.