Rugby has helped me through some incredibly difficult periods in my life. When I lost my sister in the Marchioness tragedy in 1989, I felt lost and completely misunderstood. As a messed up young man, I made some poor life choices that led to me being expelled. Rugby came at a time when I badly needed guidance and support. That's why I set up Dallaglio Foundation's Rugby for Change project. With the help of money raised by The Supporters Club, BT Sport's charitable initiative, we help young people who have been excluded or expelled from school, and who need some inspiration to make positive life choices.
Scolastica, a 33-year-old single mother and urban chicken farmer in Tanzania, set up her poultry business in 2005, itself a brave step for a woman to make in such a patriarchal society. Things ticked along relatively well. But when three years ago, a virus swept through her flock and killed 600 of her 900 birds in less than a week - even someone with the drive and determination of Scolastica thought her dream was over. That's when Comic Relief stepped in and her luck began to change.
As a performer, I totally understand how powerful music and drama is to express yourself and get difficult emotions out into the open. Singer and dancer Mary is one such person. She puts heartfelt emotion into every single performance in an attempt to turn her painful past into a positive force. Her powerful lyrics and support from an incredible project have turned this once shy woman into a local celebrity in the rural part of eastern Uganda where she lives with her husband and children. I recently met Mary, 48, and heard her remarkable story...
I'm often asked if it's okay for a black/Jewish/Muslim comedian to make jokes about their race/religion or for a woman to talk about how bad her boyfriend is in bed bearing in mind that when men speak in a derogatory fashion about their wives or girlfriends it's considered sexist... The question is, have we become too sensitive? Are we already looking for offence when it doesn't actually exist?
There's something so genuine and heartwarming in sharing a laugh with a little boy or girl. People of all ages love to share their happiness. Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you. That is the power of Comic Relief and its inspiring Red Nose Day fundraising campaign. People throughout the UK will be making fun of themselves on Friday - me, too - to support extraordinary causes.