Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Children in Need's vital support

THIS Friday Carlisle Mencap staff, support workers and service users will be at the Brampton Road University of Cumbria campus for BBC Children in Need.

The university's Institute of the Arts was chosen as the base for BBC North East and Cumbria's contributions during the nationwide fundraising marathon which has raised millions and millions for good causes over the years - including thousands for Carlisle Mencap to help us provide holidays and trips for our service users.

Now Children in Need seems to have been around for many years and has to be regarded as a complete success story. Each year the appeal appears to break new records for amounts raised.

But it got me thinking. When EXACTLY did it start? (I should have kept this as a question for my Big Festive Quiz night on December 3, shouldn't I? Silly me. Anyway, don't forget - Teams of four. The Old Fire Station, Monday December 3. 7pm. £20 per team payable on night. Should be great fun. Let me know if you want a table by November 23. Be there!)

Well, children fundraising appeals on the BBC actually started way back in 1927 with a five-minute radio appeal on Christmas Day which raised a staggering - for the times - £1,143.
Then, from 1955 to 1979 there were televised Christmas Day appeals which over the years raised more than £650,000, but the Children in Need format that we've come to know and love didn't really kick in until 1980 when Terry Wogan, Esther Rantzen and Sue Cook presented the marathon fundraiser.

Pudsey Bear didn't put in an appearance though until 1985. According to the BBC - and they should know! - he was created by a graphics designer at the Beeb, Joanna Ball. She came up with a brown, not yellow, cuddly bear mascot and named him after her home town in West Yorkshire - Wakefield. Only kidding - she was born in Pudsey, obviously. The following year he returned as a yellow bear with the spotted bandage.

Over the years, Children in Need has raised more than £800 million. A staggering amount. So tune in this Friday and make sure you give a donation. Who knows? All being well your donation could help to send one of our service users on a much-needed holiday.

And speaking of fundraising - boy, have we got a challenge coming up next summer for all of you with a daredevil streak.

Have you got a head for heights? Well if you do we'd love to hear from you. Because Carlisle Mencap, in conjunction with Extreme Sensations of Penrith, will be organising Sponsored Bungee Jumps to take place on Sunday, June 16 in Carlisle at a venue to be confirmed (though it looks certain to be Creighton RFC who are set to very kindly agree to host the event).

It will be part of a major weekend of fundraising events for Carlisle Mencap, of which I will tell you more after the festive fundraisers have taken centre stage, but the bungee jumps will be a highlight, with sponsored  fundraisers leaping from a crane at a height of 40 to 45 metres (that's 131ft to 147ft in old money).

So if you're up for it - literally - don't forget to keep an eye on our website, Facebook, Twitter and Carlisle Mencaptivate.

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