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Rio Ferdinand among stars backing anti-bullying push

LONDON - England footballers Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney, 'X Factor' judge Sharon Osbourne and Olympic double gold medallist Kelly Holmes are among a host of celebrities featuring in a new campaign to stamp out bullying.

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As part of the UK's first national Anti-Bullying Week, which runs from November 22-26, the stars are appearing in a promotional film reading lines from a poem written by a bullying victim and called 'I am'.

The Sugababes' Keisha Buchanan, Busted's Matt Jay, Natasha Bedingfield, Nick Atkinson from Rooster and Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand, also appear alongside presenter Vernon Kay and boxer Audley Harrison.

The film will be initially used as a video news release for PR activity and then used as a government information film filler over the next 12 months.

The week of activity, involving the Department for Education and Skills and a coalition of organisations and children's charities called the Anti-Bullying Alliance, focuses on the promotion of special anti-bullying wristbands.

It is hoped people will wear them to show their opposition to bullying and to support victims.

DfES strategic marketing team leader Karen Smalley said that within three hours of the campaign's launch 20,000 bands had been requested.

BBC Radio 1 has also announced it is to support the campaign with a week of on-air messages and bullying content on its One Life website.

The promotional film was procured through the Central Office of Information and was produced by Powser. PR activity is being handled by August.One Communications.

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