The BBC's first ever broadcast appeal for children was a five-minute radio broadcast on Christmas Day in 1927.
The response was phenomenal and it raised a massive £1,143 18s 3d which was split between four children's charities! The first televised appeal was in 1955, was presented by Sooty and Harry Corbett and continued as a Christmas Day Appeal until 1979, one year after Sir Terry Wogan made his debut appearance on the show.
The show took on its telethon format the following year and broke the £1 million donation barrier for the first time.
1985 saw the introduction of the much loved and now truly symbolic Pudsey bear, and since those early days and small beginnings an astounding £600+ million has been raised.
However, if like me you sit through the annual Children in Need show both moved and entertained in equal measures, before just picking up the phone to donate, why not make this the year you actually get together with colleagues and have a great time raising funds and awareness? All too often it's left to the children to raise money for the children. And a jolly good time they have doing it too, with sponsored events, face painting, out of uniform days and discos etc.
But Children in Need is a great excuse to have a little bit of fun at work too. Depending on your workplace it can be something as simple as a swearbox in a garage (sorry for stereotyping you there guys!). In the factory, pay the Managers to make the brews for the day, sweep the floors or do a stint in packing! Multi storey office? Operate the lifts on a 'pay per floor' basis (going up, not down!), sell raffle tickets for an extra days' leave or resort to the old favourite 'hair for the bear' persuading people (preferably the gentlemen!) to get waxed, dyed or shaved in places they wouldn't normally contemplate such a thing!
Pudsey has thrown down a special challenge for the ladies this year asking them to show their natural beauty for BearFaced Day on the 9th November. It's a simple, yet for many of us particularly brave way of raising money for Children in Need! Can you go without the slap for the day? Not so much as a slick of lippy or eyeliner - but all in a worthwhile cause. The only adornment allowed is a Pudsey pawprint tattoo, like a customised beauty spot, and you can buy exclusive Pudsey pawprint temporary tattoos from the Post Office. They only cost 50p and the Post Office will donate all proceeds to BBC Children in Need. There are already a host of celebrities supporting BearFaced Day (albeit most of them natural beauties anyway!) so you'll be in good company.
If your work brings you face to face with Joe Public there are countless opportunities to raise cash for the children. Most people are happy to donate if they see that you've made the effort, either by dressing the workplace or yourself following the spirit of the occasion (plenty of spots in evidence of course). They may dig a bit deeper if there's a bit of an incentive for them, so if the person who ultimately guesses correctly how many spots (smarties!) are in the jar also gets a free hair cut, afternoon tea or pub lunch then you're likely to find the coffers filling up that little bit more.
Apart from helping a great cause, fundraising for a national event like Children in Need is a great opportunity to maybe get to know your colleagues better, to discover the boss isn't quite the ogre you thought they were and that Jeremy from accounts might look like a geek but is actually surprisingly willing to spend the day walking round dressed as Lady Gaga.
The Children in Need website is awash with inspiration for fundraising ideas, you can download spotty logos, posters and banners, and there's still time to apply for their special fundraising packs and treat yourself to some Pudsey goodies from the online shop. This year don't just watch it on the TV, get involved; you'll be glad you did!
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