CHILDREN in Need was billed as being “bigger and better than ever” as thousands of people in Suffolk dug deep for the annual appeal.

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In a day of tireless fundraising across the county, schools, companies and individuals abandoned uniforms, donned fancy dress and took part in gruelling or comical challenges.

BBC bosses last night said they hoped events across the country, as well as their own six-hour TV fundraiser, would match 2011’s record on-the-night total of £26million.

In the east of the county, youngsters at Kyson Primary School in Woodbridge, created a giant Pudsey bear in their library.

Meanwhile, at Alde Valley High School in Leiston sixth formers organised a special variety show – with many staff willing to make fools of themselves for a good cause.

The showcase, which also featured performances from students including a cheerleading display, raised more than £800.

At Saint Felix School in Southwold, youngsters in “Upper 2” – under the guidance of their form teacher and class assistant – performed a chapel assembly about Children in Need.

Sporting special t-shirts and Pudsey ears, the pupils told the story of the appeal from its start on Christmas Day 1927 through to the present day.

They also sold cakes, with all money raised going to Children in Need.

Meanwhile, generous energy workers in Ipswich were keen to show their spots as they went the extra mile for Pudsey.

Staff at UK Power Networks’ offices at Fore Hamlet raised £750 from the proceeds of a virtual auction, company raffle and Children in Need sweepstake.

Business support administrator Louise Hetherington said: “We always raise money for Children in Need but people really entered into the spirit of things this year, coming to work in all sorts of Pudsey-inspired, spotty combinations. Our sustainability adviser even took it upon himself to wear a spotty skirt!

In the west of the county, police and leisure centre staff joined forces to take part in a gruelling 12-hour cycle and rowing marathon between 8am – 8pm at Newmarket Leisure Centre on Exning Street.

Acting Inspector Mark Shipton said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting BBC Children in Need this year with our friends at Newmarket Leisure Centre.

“The staff here assist us with street sports and other positive activities for youngsters in the area so this is another great way to work together for a good cause.”

Meanwhile in west Suffolk, schools and businesses have been raising money for Children in Need by dressing up, singing and dancing and pelting the boss with wet sponges.

At King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds, sixth formers and staff – including the headteacher – had fun with a Harry Potter themed day that saw them dress up as characters from the popular books and films.

Headteacher Geoff Barton said: “We had an amazing day, and I think traditionally Children in Need has been something children in the primary and middle schools have done. The sixth form said ‘we would like to do it, but we would like to do it as a Harry Potter theme.’”

Mr Barton said the sixth form alone should have raised at least £300.

At Horringer Court Middle School in Bury, Year Seven students learned about African culture and customs through singing, dancing and drumming culminating in a show.

Headteacher Tania Johnson said they had a “fantastic time”.

The Year Eights tasted French food in the form of snails and frogs’ legs.

The students at both King Edward’s and Horringer Court Middle donated money to Children in Need to wear non-uniform.

In Newmarket, staff at insurance broker Hastings Direct had the chance to soak company chief executive Gary Hoffman with sponges while he was in stocks.

Employees also raised money for Children in Need through fancy dress and cake sales.

Jay Wootten, company spokesman, said: “It’s gone really well. It’s been quite a busy few months for us with charity events.”

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