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In a nail-biting grand finale, the winner of Celebrity Apprentice 2022 has been crowned.

Tuesday night’s episode saw Benji Marshall and Darren McMullen go head-to-head to fundraise for their chosen charities, with Benji Marshall claiming victory.

The two stars were given 24 hours to plan and host an epic charity event. Marshall took a risk to host a free concert – which he was advised against doing – while McMullen opted to throw a high-class charity night.

As risky as Marshall’s decision was, it ultimately paid off, with the former footy star raising a whopping $387,105 for Souths Cares, which supports disadvantaged and marginalised youth and their families through education, training, health and employment.

“Listen, Benji, you came in here as an ex-football player one year on and you’re already back in a final. So the theme of your event was ‘dream big’,” Lord Alan Sugar said to him before the winner was announced.

Marshall replied: “The reason why I love being involved with this charity is the kids remind me of me when I was a kid. I feel very connected to them.

“The biggest thing I wanted to get out of this event was to inspire kids to dream as big as you want. Believe in yourself, work hard and you’ll be surprised at what can happen.”

When it was pointed out how he could have raised money through selling tickets, merchandise, and sponsorship deals – instead opting to give it all away for free – Marshall agreed that it may have been a “bad business decision” but that he couldn’t help it.

“To be fair, I probably took a lot of bad business decisions in terms of I could have raised more money, but I just could have missed this opportunity to give her kids stuff for free,” Marshall said.

Meanwhile, McMullen’s total earnings of $172,617 for Feel the Magic, which provides early intervention grief programs for kids aged seven to 17, saw him admit that he couldn’t secure the VIP guests he wanted to.

“I couldn’t do what I was great at, which is getting black book contacts and raising money,” McMullen said. “Yeah. So ultimately I certainly tried my best, but, there were a lot of phone calls not answered.”

Lord Sugar ultimately declared Marshall the winner.

“Benji, I am delighted to say that you are the winner of Celebrity Apprentice. With the additional $100,000, you have raised $487,105 – that’s a lotta-lotta money,” he told Marshall.

“Well done, that’s going to do a lot of good.”

“I didn’t expect that. I honestly didn’t think I’d last that long because I don’t really have a lot of experience in business,” Benji told 9Entertainment.

Taking to social media overnight, Marshall thanked those who helped him pull the event together and reflected on raising the funds during the Omicron wave of COVID-19.

“Wow. I am soo proud to have been able to represent @souths_cares and raise plenty of money and awareness for an amazing charity,” Marshall wrote.

“To put together an event in the middle of when omicron first hit was tough. And all in one day. It would not have been possible without all the people that helped out along the way. Big thank you to my crew (Will McMahon, Woody Whitelaw, Bronte Campbell, and Vince Colosimo) for coming back and helping the bro out. You guys were the real mvps!!!”

Marshall thanked the sponsors, friends and family who donated, and the musicians who performed for free, including Guy Sebastian, The Wiggles, Isaiah Firebrace, and Noora H.

He also praised McMullen’s efforts in the finale.

“You are a weapon Dazza and a worthy recipient of the title celebrity apprentice winner as well,” Marshall wrote.

“Love ya.”

Image: benji6marshall (Instagram)

This article first appeared on OverSixty.

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