Helping others is key to our community ethos

VIP visit: Pudsey Bear joined a BBC South Today crew at Belmore Lodge to film Colten Care’s 1,500-mile cycle to raise funds for Children in Need

Pudsey Bear called in at Belmore Lodge in Lymington to help us launch a two-week Colten Care fundraising extravaganza in aid of  Children in Need.

The official mascot of the BBC’s annual charity appeal joined us at the start of a bike ride challenge and Spotty bus tour competition.

Amid some gentle rivalry, Belmore Lodge vied with two other Lymington homes, Court Lodge and Linden House, to see how much money they could raise.

Residents, families, friends, staff and volunteers used stationary exercise bikes at each home to help ‘cycle Pudsey home’ to the BBC studios in Manchester by Children in Need night on Friday, 18 November. It’s an equivalent distance there and back of around 500 miles for each home.

We streamed the virtual journey live using three web cams so communities could check on progress in real time. Visitors to each home were warmly invited to hop on the saddle and help with the ride.

Court Lodge residents and staff take turns on the exercise bike

Court Lodge residents and staff take turns on the exercise bike

At the same time, we decorated one of our minibuses Pudsey-style with colourful spots. As it went on its rounds in and around Lymington leading up to Children in Need night, we invited members of the public to take and send in a photograph of it, with the chance to win a Samsung Galaxy tablet in a prize draw.

The campaign’s grand finale was a ‘black tie and diamonds’ ball at Lymington Sailing Club for families and community contacts. The event, which also took place on Children in Need night, included an auction of donated items.

Janie Pearman, Belmore Lodge Home Manager, said: “We all enjoyed Pudsey’s visit to help set us on our way with our Children in Need activities. It was lovely to welcome him and see the smiles on our residents’ faces.

“Our campaign offered a whole host of ways to get involved. We had something for everyone. People got active on the bikes, used their photographic skills for the bus competition or simply made donations.”

CEO Mark Aitchison checks on progress at Linden House

CEO Mark Aitchison checks on progress at Linden House

We posted updates of the funds raised on our campaign website The total raised ahead of the BBC Children in Need day itself stood at around £8,300.

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