Pudsey’s protégés rake it in for Children in Need

Children in Need’s most successful year ever was helped in part by the fundraising efforts of those in Dacorum.

Clubs and schools across the county took part in sponsored events and gave up their time to help the cause, which this year raked in an unprecedented £32million.

Mike Penning MP, Pudsey Bear and the staff of Haven Holidays, Hemel Hempstead

Mike Penning MP, Pudsey Bear and the staff of Haven Holidays, Hemel Hempstead

The BBC Children in Need ‘Rickshaw Challenge’ made its way through Herts on Friday morning, diverting off its planned route to visit one of the vital services the project has helped in Hemel Hempstead along the way.

Eagle-eyed spectactors could catch a glimpse of presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones as they passed through Bedmond, Chipperfield and Kings Langley along with ateam of six young people – each supported by projects funded by BBC Children in Need –as they power the rickshaw in the last leg of the 450-mile journey across England.

Now in its fourth year and having raised over £5 million for the charity, the rickshaw undertook a ‘Salford to Walford’ journey across England, finishing live at the iconic EastEnders set during the BBC Children in Need Appeal.

The star-studded team made a special pitstop to visit Playskill – a free parent and child term-time group for pre-school children with special physical needs based in Woodfield School in Malmes Croft – which has received vital support from Children in Need. A short film on the service was also featured during the hours-long show.

Photographer Jake McNulty captured the group as they passed the Robin Hood Pub near Buffler's Holt

Photographer Jake McNulty captured the group as they passed the Robin Hood Pub near Buffler's Holt

Playskill founder Andrea Clarke said: “We are delighted to be a part of BBC Childrenin Need this year. Children in Need have funded our basic costs since 2008 but we still have to find other income from the local community. The film on Children In Need has been a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the vital support we offer families when they need it most.”

Woodfield School pupils themselves had a day to remember after winning a BBC Children in Need and Lloyds Bank VIP ‘Best Assembly Ever.’

Performers delivered an extra special assembly with a DJ, games, activities and Pudsey Bear. The event designed ‘by children for children’ also featured a best-dressed competition with children and teachers dressing up as superheroes.

Also on the day, Hemel Hempstead-based Haven Holidays’ head office volunteered its services as one of the official call centres for the night’s telethon.

Pupils at Grove Road Primary School fundraise for Children in Need

Pupils at Grove Road Primary School fundraise for Children in Need

Staff again dressed up in a superhero theme and their efforts were judged by Bourne Leisure’s chairman Geoff Cooper and town MP Mike Penning, who chose Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as their winners.

The team took more than 4,000 calls right through until 2am, while a raffle, tombola, games and quizzes and cake sale raised £2,000 in the office alone. The team’s contribution took Haven’s nationwide total to well over £200,000.

M&S Butchers in Warners End also provided meat for a barbecue at the headquarters, and had also sold special Pudsey ‘hunny’ flavoured sausages all week to raise £150 for Children in Need, while staff at Oscars Pizza Co in Kings Langley dressed up in school uniform. From donations and proceeds from pizza sales the restaurant raised around £400 for the cause. General manager Monika Kulicka said: “It was a really good night, we had great fun and people loved it.

“Our customers made great comments about it and we raised a great amount for Children in Need.”

Pudsey Bear visits Woodfield School for its 'Best Assembly Ever' PNL-141118-103741001

Pudsey Bear visits Woodfield School for its 'Best Assembly Ever' PNL-141118-103741001

In Tring, Grove Road Primary School’s own superheroes raised a whopping £1,015 for Children in Need.

On Friday each pupil paid £1 to come to school dressed as a super hero and brought cakes for the Pudsey cake sale.

Funds were also raised through a St John Ambulance first aid coursewith parents making donations for attending. After school there were further fundraising efforts, with a ‘Play for Pudsey’ recital, where children performed pieces on various instruments, for a donation by parents.

Individual children at the school also took the initiative to organise their own fund-raising events. Katie Davis in Year 2 baked her own cakes and sold them to staff, while Sam Pyefinch in Year 5 swam the equivalent of a mile, raising £150 through sponsorship.

Headteacher Sharon Sanderson said: “I’m delighted with the amount of money we have raised as a school for Children in Need. The children embraced the opportunity to get involved and make a difference to the lives of children who really need help. I’m very proud of them.”

Students at Berkhamsted’s Cheswood School of Dancing have spent the last months learning a tap dance to take part in a ‘tapathon’ world record attempt to have as many people performing the same tap dance at multiple venues throughout the UK – all for Children in Need.

The 29 participating students not only to learned the routine but also raised funds through sponsorship.

Teachers Wendy Cheshire, Jackie Chambers and Karen Tierney would like to thank all the students for their hard work and all the people who very kindly sponsored them.

We would love to hear your fundraising news. Email thegazette@jpress.co.uk with details and photos of your school or club’s charity efforts.