Actor Rebecca Front, 46, has appeared in many TV shows including the political satire The Thick of It. She is a patron of Anxiety UK and is taking part in a 5k event as part of Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life this spring.
What was the first charity you can remember supporting?
I remember helping out at a Samaritans coffee morning when I was eight or nine. I don’t think I really understood what the Samaritans were but I knew it was a good thing because my parents had told me it was.
What would you say is the cause closest to you now?
I’m involved with Mind and various other mental health charities, chiefly Anxiety UK. I got involved with that because I’d mentioned publicly that I suffer from claustrophobia and other anxiety issues. I suppose that’s closest to me because it’s something I understand.
What motivated you to support Race for Life?
I got involved about three years ago. Everybody, sadly, knows somebody who’s been affected by cancer and it was my daughter who saw an advert for it on TV and really fancied doing it. She sort of persuaded me into doing it.
Which other charities do you admire?
I recently went to a place in north London which is operated by Sense, a charity for deaf-blind people. A friend of mine works for Sense and had said, “I think you should go and see this place because it’s incredible.” I came away with such a positive feeling from this daycare centre. So I’m now going to get a bit more involved with Sense as well.
Do you think it is important for people in the public eye to donate to charities?
It’s hugely important. I know people sometimes get fed up with “celebrities” banging the drum for a particular cause, and you get criticisms from people saying it’s all about you and making you look like a good person. But the fact is that people do tend to listen more if there’s a name or a face that they’re familiar with. Look at, for example, the Alzheimer’s Society, where my friend [the actor] Kevin Whately is a very active and vocal ambassador for the cause: people will watch an interview with Kevin talking about dementia in a way that they might not if it’s someone that they haven’t heard of.
Why should people give money to people running marathons and climbing mountains?
The problem is that you do get inundated with sponsorship forms and you can’t possibly support all of them. But if something catches your attention, or if you think, “Oh my goodness I could never do that in a million years,” then it’s great to support somebody who is willing to do it, and know the money is going to the right place.