RETRO: Fond memories of Children in Need

Children in Need'The Lord Mayor of sheffield cuts a slice of the world's biggest Yorkshire Pudding - 18 November 1988
Children in Need'The Lord Mayor of sheffield cuts a slice of the world's biggest Yorkshire Pudding - 18 November 1988
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Ah, Children In Need... Men in baths of beans, office workers dressed awkwardly in jeans, and celebrities doing their bit to raise their profile. Er, sorry, raise money.

The annual BBC-backed charity drive and telethon returns again on Friday.

Children in Need'Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Jim Moore, kidnapped by members of the St. Albans Round Table for the Children in Need Appeal.  From left are, Phil Youdan, Mike Harrison and Bob Deacon - 22nd Nov 1990

Children in Need'Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Jim Moore, kidnapped by members of the St. Albans Round Table for the Children in Need Appeal. From left are, Phil Youdan, Mike Harrison and Bob Deacon - 22nd Nov 1990

And, as these pictures prove, Sheffielders have never been strangers to doing daft things in the name of a good cause.

Midweek Retro has pulled the images from The Star archives to celebrate our city’s contribution to a charity which has raised more than £600 million since it started in 1980.

They show all the staples – buckets, buns and bank managers being sponged – as well as the, um, more unusual ideas. Was there really a time when no-one thought it slightly inappropriate to dress as a short-skirted schoolgirl while raising money for a vulnerable children’s charity? Apparently there was – 1990 to be exact.

“If there are two things that are absolutely true about Sheffield,” says Councillor Peter Price, who has regularly taken part in the annual day of fund-raising frolics, “It’s that it’s an incredibly generous city, and that people here don’t mind making a bit of a fool of themselves for a good cause.

Children in Need'Picture shows clerical trainees from Key Training, Barnsley, as they don fancy dress and collect in Barnsley Town Centre for Children in Need - 23 November 1990

Children in Need'Picture shows clerical trainees from Key Training, Barnsley, as they don fancy dress and collect in Barnsley Town Centre for Children in Need - 23 November 1990

“That’s something you learn as a councillor. It’s not just Children In Need. There are people here who are helping every day of the year. Volunteering, raising money, donating their own time. I’m sure it happens everywhere but I do think there’s a special spirit here.”

Indeed. Forget newsreaders dancing in their knickers, boybands murdering covers of classics, or Terry Wogan taking a payment for hosting the whole shebang (up to 2007). Here, we’re more about baking the world’s biggest Yorkshire pudding (1988), mock kidnapping the Lord Mayor (1990) or watching sports stars like Herol Bomber Graham have his hair waxed (a painful 1985).

Schools, workplaces and community centres all tend to get in on the activities.

“The most unusual thing I saw?” ponders Stuart Hastings, the now retired chief photographer at The Star. “Watching Bomber Graham get waxed was quite different. He was a bruiser in the ring but he didn’t like that. I remember him turning to me and saying ‘It hurts, Stu, it hurts’. But there was always lots of things going off. Fancy dress, painted faces, baked biscuits, people sat in baths of maggots. It was a busy day but a lot of fun.”

See upcoming issues of The Star for all your Children In Need fun.

History:

1927: The BBC broadcasts its first ever charity appeal in the form of a five-minute radio slot on Christmas Day. It raises £1,143, which is split between four charities.

1980: The first Children In Need telethon takes place, hosted by Terry Wogan, Sue Lawley and Esther Rantzen. It raises £1 million.

1985: Pudsey Bear makes his first appearance as Children In Need mascot.

1988: Children In Need becomes a registered charity.

1997: The song Perfect Day recorded by Lou Reed and various artists becomes the first of the charity’s official songs to reach number one in the UK charts.

2009: Pudsey is joined by a brown female bear named Blush.

2012: More than 8 million watched last year’s telethon which raised some £26 million.