Massive bid to help needy youngsters

CHILDREN in Need fever is upon us once again - and generous people from across the UK have been doing their best to raise even more money than last year.

CHILDREN in Need fever is upon us once again - and generous people from across the UK have been doing their best to raise even more money than last year.

In 2004, a staggering £34.2million was collected as people shaved legs, sat in baked bean-filled baths and undertook numerous other wacky and weird challenges.

But this year's drive promises to be even bigger - and the people of Suffolk were today throwing their weight behind the cause to help support the charities or projects working to improve the lives of children and young people in the UK.

The Evening Star has been doing its bit too, because today 3p from every copy sold - or 4p if you bought the paper at Asda - will be donated to Children in Need.

Nigel Pickover, the Star's editor, said: “This is our commitment to Children in Need and it's an even bigger one that last year when it was 2p from every copy.

“We want to make sure this year's event is the biggest yet.”

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Mr Pickover left the Star's newsroom earlier today when he joined up with BBC Radio Suffolk's Lesley Dolphin on her three-hour broadcast, bringing with him a very special auction prize.

One lucky bidder won themselves and a guest a seat in the press box at Portman Road for an Ipswich Town game, a place at the post-match press conference and the chance to write a report which will be printed in the Star.

Mr Pickover said: “This is a real one-off - a very special prize and we must thank Ipswich Town Football Club for their great contribution to the day.”

Other lots during the auction included a VIP trip to the 2006 Guinness Festival at Newmarket Racecourse, a family portrait and a makeover.

Elsewhere in Ipswich, charitable staff at AXA Insurance in Civic Drive were helping to run Suffolk's biggest call centre for pledges - and this after a week dedicated to fundraising for Children in Need.

Around 150 people from AXA volunteered to help man the call centre and they were expecting to take a whopping £150,000 throughout the night.

And at Gym and Trim in Grafton Way, staff and members were rally going the extra mile as they attempted to cycle from London to Paris on a static bike - a challenge expected to take 11 hours.

Staff said they hoped to raise more than £250 throughout the day and promised to leave buckets out over the weekend to collect every last penny possible.

At Just Learning Nursery in Marble White Drive, Pinewood, the children enjoyed a day dedicated to dressing up - as well as collecting money from parents and staff to donate to Children in Need.

Although it is the first time the nursery has got involved in Children in Need, they set themselves an impressive fundraising target of £200.

To make donations to Children in Need by phone, call 0845 7332233. Calls are charged at a local rate.

Donations online can be made at

Donations can also be made at all high street banks, building societies, at the Post Office and via any HSBC cashpoint.