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Comedian Sandi Toksvig sacked as Save the Children charity patron for being a lesbian

By Aidan Barlow

Herne Bay comedian Sandi Toksvig has revealed she was sacked as a patron of Save the Children because she is a lesbian.

She told listeners to her BBC Radio 4 programme about the incident in 1994, where she had been due to host the 75-year anniversary of the charity at a bash in London.

But she received a phone call days beforehand over concerns about the Princess Royal meeting a gay woman.

Sandy Toksvig at a boat naming ceremony in Herne Bay
Sandy Toksvig at a boat naming ceremony in Herne Bay

She had recently come out in the newspapers and admitted raising three children in her relationship with partner Debbie.

On her radio programme she was discussing the decision by the charity to award former Prime Minister Tony Blair a global legacy award.

She told listeners: “It’s not the first time Save the Children have got things a little bit on the wrong side.

“Twenty years ago I was an ambassador for them, I had been for some years, and then I came out in the newspapers.

“Four days before I was to host their massive conference in the Albert Hall, they phoned me up and they fired me – because they didn’t want Princess Anne to meet a lesbian.

Sandi Toksvig
Sandi Toksvig

“They told me not to tell anybody, they told me to keep it a secret.

“I don’t know what they thought – Save the Children, apart from the gay ones?”

“I don’t know what they thought – Save the Children, apart from the gay ones?” - Sandi Toksvig

She joked that because Princess Anne is a keen horse rider, she had probably already met a lesbian in presenter and amateur jockey Clare Balding.

Since the revelation emerged, the charity has also faced criticism for its role in trying to help victims of the Ebola virus.

But the charity admitted the incident should never have happened and later apologised to Sandi Toksvig.

In a statement it said: “Save the Children apologised unreservedly for this decision at the time – it should absolutely not have been made and would never be made today.

“The organisation supports gay rights around the world, welcomes people of all sexual orientation and encourages a diverse workforce.”

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