Ade Adepitan MBE

Born in Lagos Nigeria and raised in East London, Ade survived polio as youngster. Contracting the virus at just 15 months old he began to lose the use of his legs, and at aged three his parents migrated with him to the UK. Ade went on to succeed as an international Paralympic wheelchair basketball player and renowned broadcaster.

Never one to hold back, Ade’s work has taken him across the globe; most recently to Kenya as part of the BBC’s Our Changing Planet, charting our worlds most threatened ecosystems. He also went undercover with C4’s Dispatches, reporting foreign affairs for Unreported World and fronting the ground-breaking BBC Two Series, Climate Change: Ade on the Frontline. Filmed during the pandemic, Ade meets the people and places around the globe who have been directly affected by climate change.

Ade is a well-respected co-host on Children in Need’s annual live appeal show. He has hosted countless sporting events including his BAFTA ward wining coverage of the 2012 Paralympics on C4 co-hosted with Clare Balding. An Olympics that changed the course of history for people’s attitudes towards disabled people, not just in sport.

In a personal documentary for C4, Ade Adepitan: Journey of my Lifetime, Ade returned to his birthplace Lagos to investigate Nigeria’s polio endemic. Picked up by the Sunday Times, Ade’s story left viewers inspired including support on Twitter from Bill Gates, who invited Ade to speak at the Global Vaccine Summit: We Changed History in 2020, when Nigeria officially declared the country free from wild poliovirus, becoming the last country in the continent of Africa to be polio free. A milestone that see’s Ade continue to work alongside the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to end poliovirus globally.

An exceptional public speaker and live host, Ade supports a plethora of charities including Amnesty International, Unicef and NSPCC and continues to deliver motivational speeches to schools, charities, and businesses around the world.

Ade’s personal sporting achievements include a Bronze in The Athens Paralympics, Silver in the European Championships and Gold in The World Championships. Ade received an MBE in 2005 and was awarded Honorary Doctorate from Loughborough University in 2006 and the University of East London in 2010.

Ade has released four children’s books all based on stories from his own childhood, as a Nigerian kid with a disability growing up in East London during the ‘80’s. His debut book series follows a superhero character called Cyborg Cat, and they call centre around the same messaging “We can all be superheroes, no matter who we are or where we’re from.” 100% of the proceeds from Ade’s second book were donated to Children in Need.

Ed Balls

Ed was UK Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 2011-2015 and served in the UK Cabinet as Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families 2007-2010. He was the UK Minister for Financial Services 2006-2007 and the Chief Economic Adviser to the UK Treasury 1997-2004 during which time he was Chair of the IMFC Deputies and UK G20 Deputy.

Ed studied economics and philosophy at Keble College, Oxford, and economics and politics (MPA) at the John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard. Ed was a teaching fellow in the Department of Economics, Harvard from 1988 to 1990 and a leader writer and columnist at the Financial Times from 1990 to 1994 where he was the Wincott Young Financial Journalist of the Year. He has also written regularly for the Guardian, New Statesman and Tribune and co-authored a number of books, papers, articles and pamphlets.

Ed’s popular BBC TV series ‘Travels in Trumpland: with Ed Balls’ was broadcast in July 2018 and a second series ‘Travels in Euroland with Ed Balls’ will air on BBC 2 early 2020. Ed has also presented the BBC TV series ‘What Britain Buys And Sells In A Day’ with Ade Adepitan and Cherry Healey which broadcast in October 2019 and offered expert political analysis alongside George Osbourne for the ITV election night coverage for 2017 and 2019 general elections.

He has also appeared in a number of other television programmes including being a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing 2016, competing in Sport Relief Celebrity Bake-off, being a guest chair on Have I Got New for You, and has made guest appearances on Would I Lie to You, Insert Name Here, The Michael McIntyre Show and QI. He is also a regular guest on This Week, Peston on Sunday. In February 2019, Ed climbed Kilimanjaro with eight other well-known climbers, raising over £2m for Comic Relief.

Ed is Vice President of Action for Stammering Children, a Patron of the British Stammering Association and a Patron of Whizz-Kidz. He has run the London Marathon three times since 2011, raising over £160,000 for WhizzKidz and Action for Stammering Children. He is also the co-Chair of the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation and Vice President and former Chairman of Norwich City Football Club.