A mystery donor gave 5.5 million pounds to the Sport Relief charity appeal in one of the biggest single donations in the history of TV fundraising, the BBC has said.

The BBC said the gift from the anonymous donor – made on Friday night as viewers watched the Sport Relief telethon – was the biggest donation in Comic Relief’s 22-year history.
The spokeswoman said the ‘phenomenal’ donation pushed the total raised to more than 19 million pounds.

She said the donor had asked for anonymity and that the BBC could not say whether the money had come from a man or woman.

The spokeswoman would give no details about the donor and said she could not say whether the money had come from a figure in the sporting or showbusiness world.

“It’s a phenomenal donation,” she said. “We cannot give any details about the identity of the donor.”

The BBC said sports and showbusiness figures completed a series of challenges to help raise money.

Former top footballer Alan Shearer and TV presenter Adrian Chiles cycled 335 miles from Newcastle to London. Rower James Cracknell travelled from the UK to Africa ‘under his own steam’ – completing the journey by swimming from Gibraltar to Morocco.

Audience figures peaked at 7.9 million during a Sport Relief Strictly Come Dancing special, she said.