Saturday, 17 November 2012

Children in Need day

Yesterday was interesting, if not slightly surreal. When I arrived in the newsroom, I could see my friend Jo reading the news. Nothing unusual about that you might say. That's true, but she was wearing pjamas.

So was the breakfast presenter Jonathan, Emily his producer was wearing a pink onesie, and sports journalist Dan wore a bright orange little number. . The News Editor turned up minutes later in a fetching pair of pink pjamas  and in fact most of the staff at BBC Leicester wore their nightwear to work .

Even our faith producer Dr John Florance took part....

They were raising money for Children in Need Day. It's an institution here in the UK, when the BBC led campaign fundraises for children . Six hundred and fifty million pounds has been raised for children whether they're ill, have been abused, or are  carers for their parents for example. Children in Need funds hospice care, playworkers, support workers , helps disadvantaged children have their first holiday, and at night on BBC 1 celebrities, sing, dance and do all sorts of silly stuff to help swell the coffers.

Back to the pjamas first though....I was not wearing any. I  was wrapped up in many layers of clothing because I was off out in the radio car all day,to do lots of interviews at different locations around the county to see what daft or different things people were doing to raise money.

First stop was a bitterly cold Mallory Park, a famous racetrack where superbikes and fast cars are normally screeching around the track accompanied by the smell of fuel and testosterone to the roars of thousands of specatators.

 But there was a completly different vibe ....the place was virtually deserted and quiet. So quiet it was quite eerie under the low grey skies. But I was there to meet Graham Buckingham and his son Lawrence who'd organised a bike ride in which  pedal power took over from motor mania.

When I was there, cyclists were beginning to arrive from called Rob (in the photo) had cycled from Nottingham, was going to do 24 one mile laps around the track, and then cycle off home.A hundred mile trip...and he only began  cycling in earnest  as a result of being inspired by the 2012 London Olympics!

Meanwhile Lawrence Buckingham was going to be doing a night ride with some of his friends around the track in the spooky....and they're on track to raise three thousand pounds.Marvellous....

If I was cold at Mallory Park , then Louise Moore in Birstall was frozen. She had been persuaded by her bosses to sit in a bath of baked beans for about five hours.

She's a trainee design engineer for a house building company- unfortunately the bath wasn't in a lovely new showhome as I was in an open fronted  garage. The poor girl was shivering as we did our live interview....but very upbeat about the thousand pounds she'd already raised by lunchtime.

How many tines of baked beans did it take to fill the bath? Three hundred and fifty apparently......and the smell of all those beans was quite pungent.

 Then it was over to East Midlands DHL Express. Now this is a company which really goes to town  for Children in Need. Staff at their call centre had devsised lots of activities to get money....there were the obvious ones such as making cakes, paying to wear outrageous costumes as they worked, but then there were a few fiendish plans....Gunk the manager being one of them.

 Each team kept putting money in -if they raised a hundred and twenty pounds, then their manager had to be gunked. And when I say gunked, have a look at this....

Poor Lynn....the gunk was a revolting concoction of custard, , rice pudding, tomato sauce and a few other ingredients.

While she was getting showered and changed afterwards, three of the managers were being paid to do gangnam style dancing, and some other managers were having bits of their anaatomy being spray tanned if their workers paid enough. One guy had been done three times and had the most flurescent orange legs I've ever seen...that's one fake tan which will last until next summer I reckon.

The staff there weren't just doing the day job though. At 7pm they started in earnest taking all the calls promising pledges of money as Children in Need Night began on television.....others were coming from DHL centres all over the country to help do long shifts.....everyone volunteering to do it free of charge. That's what I call commitment to a good cause........

I was at Conkers in the heart of the National Forest for the last three interviews....this is where a major outside broadcast was taking place later in the evening. There's one hundred and twenty acres to explore there....but it was so dank and gloomy outside by 3.30pm, I was  grateful that all my interviews were to be done inside at the visitor centre.

A ninety strong choir of eight to ten year olds from three different schools in three different counties  were going to be singing Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge over Troubled Waters as well as lots more. I'd already interviewed members of the Donisthorpe Primary School Choir so it was lovely to talk to them again.

They sang beautifully at the technical rehearsal....and looked little angels...some of us were smiling and choking back tears....then it was teatime, and the noise as they tucked in was immense...

Meanwhile I was interviewing Anne Davies, a presenter on East Midlands Today, who was hosting the evening. She's such a pro...was lovely with the children..really minute she was sat in a corner, hair in rollers, doing another live interview with Radio 2's Simon Mayo, the next minute looking impossibly glam in her dressing area......whereas I was not!

Anyway, it was so good to meet so many lovely people....all doing incredible things to help others....raising  over twenty six million pounds in one day, with more to come. Think how much much hope and support that will give  to thousands of children around the country. A beautiful day....

Today's track is called just that  -"A beautiful day" by India Arie....a wonderful singer songwriter day I'll tell you why another of her songs is forever etched in my memory.....,



  1. What a wonderful way to raise money - well done, all of you!

    1. Yes, it never fails to amaze me how much people will endure to raise money for others....

  2. Ah Bridget what an amazing day and what a lot of wonderful people you met. It never ceases to amaze me how generous people can be and stoical too - I don't think I'd have lasted very long in a bath of cold baked beans!

  3. the baked beans were so cold Alex....and it will take ages to get rid of the colour from the tomato sauce I'm sure! But the great British public are wonderful!

  4. I think the baked beans must have been so cold to sit in,well done to all.

  5. Ho that girl sat there forso long amazed me...adn she must have reeked of baked beans for at least a week!