Christine McGuinness has opened up about her “struggles” making friends when she was younger as BBC Children In Need launches its 2023 fundraising appeal.
The TV personality, 35, is one of several celebrities including radio DJ Roman Kemp and former Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore to back this year’s Spotacular campaign on Monday.
The charity is raising funds for children and young people facing mental health issues and difficult circumstances as well as putting a spotlight on positive relationships.
A range of official t-shirts designed by bestselling children’s author and illustrator of the Tom Gates series, Liz Pichon, are being worn by famous faces to push the fundraiser.
In a video, McGuinness said: “My childhood was really fun. I remember playing outside with my brother and sister, and just being at home with my mum.
“When I was younger, I really struggled at school, I struggled to make friends to socialise, and to fit in, it was at home I always felt the most comfortable… (My) mum was always the most positive mum.
“And she always made me feel like I can just be made it comfortable… and she just loves me and she made me smile every single day…. thank you (mum) so much for being the most amazing (and) strongest person (and an) independent woman.
“She’s inspired me massively, being a mum myself with three children, to go and smile every day to keep and making me believe that it’s OK to just be yourself and that’s the message that I pass on to my three children now.”
She shares three children, Felicity, and twins Leo and Penelope, with her former husband, Top Gear presenter Paddy McGuinness.
Earlier this year, the author and autism ambassador released BBC documentary titled Christine McGuinness: Unmasking My Autism, a journey of self-discovery that uncovers the links between her autism and struggles growing up.
Retired athlete Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, presenter Dame Kelly Holmes, former footballer Jermaine Jenas, The One Show presenter Alex Jones, former Lioness Jill Scott, S Club singer Rachel Stevens, YouTube fitness coach Joe Wicks and rapper Big Zuu also backed the Children In Need campaign.
Irish media personality Whitmore, 38, said: “I grew up in a single parent household and the person who believed in me and made me feel happy and positive during my childhood was my mum.
“My mum is an incredible woman and has worked so hard to allow me to do all the mad things I have wanted to do.
“She’s always been there to support me and is still supporting me now through my adult life.
“Every child deserves a positive relationship in their life that champions them and gives them the support they need to be the best they can be, so I hope everyone up and down the UK gets behind this year’s (appeal).”
The One Show and Morning Live will be asking viewers to be “Spotacular” over the coming weeks with kick off on Monday at 7pm on BBC One.
Jones said: “We’re really excited to be helping Children in Need kick start this year’s appeal by asking people to ‘Challenge Yourself’.
“Whether it’s climbing a mountain or learning your favourite dance routine anyone can get involved by taking on a challenge big or small.
“With the help of a very special ‘One Show Challenge Squad’ we hope to inspire people and raise as much money as we can for this incredible cause.”
Money raised for the 2023 appeal will go to creating “more positive relationships that will help strengthen children’s wellbeing and help them navigate the challenges in their lives”.
BBC Children In Need For The Great SPOTacular Appeal Show will air on Friday November 17 at 7pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.