MEET Newbury’s Sukey Russell-Hayward – the face of this year’s BBC South Children In Need appeal.
The mother-of-two, who lives in Russell Road with her husband Geoff, is the poster girl for the broadcaster’s flagship charity event owing to her tireless fundraising.
On Tuesday, October 10, a film crew came to her back garden to shoot a piece for the Children in Need trailer and Mrs Russell-Hayward said: “The idea was that they had ‘lost’ Pudsey Bear and then found he had wandered down the canal towpath and was enjoying our trampoline.
“The presenters, film crew and Pudsey Bear spent a lovely couple of hours filming the trailer with us, before heading into town to continue filming at the Tea Shop By The Canal.”
BBC South was so impressed with the Russell-Hayward family’s fundraising that it loaned them the cute bear mascot so he could be a special guest at their Pudsey Party, to be held at the Ace Space in St Nicholas Road, Newbury, on Saturday, November 11, between 3pm and 4.30pm.
Mrs Russell-Hayward said: “We have been raising for Children in Need for a number of years, since my daughter Bella decided to ‘cycle to the sea’ from Newbury and raised £1,300.
“This made us think of other ways we could help children less fortunate, so we asked for donations for our wedding presents, and then, three years ago, we started the Pudsey Parties at Ace Space.”
She added: “This summer we also started to run CommuniTeas in our back garden. In August, we ran the first, raising £300 pounds in a few hours.
“This was very much a community effort, with people of all ages helping to run the tea stall and baking the most wonderful cakes.
“This was not only a great fundraising opportunity, but it enabled us to reach out to the community and welcome both young and old to join us in a cup of tea, a good chat and a piece of cake.
“We firmly believe that we can help children who have not had the opportunities which ours have and at the same time reach out to the community, both young and old, to get together and have some fun.”
As well as the chance to have their photo taken with Pudsey at the Pudsey Party this year, children can enjoy a whole host of fun activities, including a disco, lucky dip, bat the rat, cake stall, book and game stall, name the giant bear and face painting.
Mrs Russell-Hayward said: “It’s mainly for junior school-aged children and, although we welcome any age, we do ask parents of children under eight years to stay and enjoy the party too.”
Tickets, priced £3, are available on the door or in advance from Ace Space.
The trailer will be screened in the run-up to the main event on November 17.
BBC South has also filmed local schoolchildren participating in a choir for the evening.