BBC’s Pudsey Bear made his first ever trip abroad when he joined families from British Forces Cyprus in raising £10,000 for Children in Need.
Children and their parents from RAF Akrotiri joined with schools across the British Forces Cyprus to raise the money in time for Children in Need. Pudsey visited them during October when he flew in from RAF Brize Norton with 10 Sqn on the Voyager.
During his stay the yellow bear flew with 84 Squadron, marshalled in aircraft, helped sort post for personnel and their families across the island and trained with the Military Working Dogs. He also went to schools across the island to help them out with fundraising activities.
Mrs Tracy Gibbs, 50, is a year two teacher at RAF Akrotiri School. “Every year the children at Akrotiri school help raise funds for Children in Need,” she explained.
“To have Pudsey travel abroad for the first time to acknowledge this was super important to them. The children here live away from their extended families back in the UK for several years. They still want to feel part of the UK community and this was evident as Pudsey pulled all of the British Forces Cyprus community together to work towards a common fundraising goal.”
Milly Charnock, 11, is in year six at the school. She said. “I was so excited to meet Pudsey. My favourite part of the visit was when he danced with us at Wake Up Shake Up first thing in the morning. I’m really proud of that we managed to raise so much money especially when there are other children who need it so much.”
The trip was set up by the Charities Committee at RAF Akrotiri. Flight Sergeant Ken Winslade co-ordinated the project.
“We were over the moon when the BBC confirmed the Pudsey was going to fly to Cyprus. The Buzz on camp has been absolutely amazing. The entire community has come together. Our initial target was to raise £5,000, so we were overjoyed when we hit the £10,000 mark.
“Working with Pudsey has been great fun, he is a fantastic character and very keen to help around the station. The highlight was when he marshalled in a passenger plane on the runway.”
Flight Sergeant Ken Winslade
Pudsey certainly made the most of his time, he even visited Station Commander Group Captain Chris Snaith’s house for tea.
“Children in Need supports so many young people across the UK, so were absolutely delighted to host Pudsey Bear in October to help us fundraise for this great charity,” said Group Captain Snaith.
“He attended several events on the station and in wider British Forces Cyprus. I am extremely proud of the fundraising efforts of those here at Akrotiri and the schools across British Forces Cyprus together we raised £10,000. Everyone pulled together to fundraise and had a lot of fun at the same time.
“Whether it was a dress in pink day at the school, a quiz at the Rugby Club, car washing by the Fire Section or one of the many other great activities that took place to raise money, the whole community pulled together for this fantastic cause. To have Pudsey here to help out was certainly a boost for moral for all of us who are far from home.”
Station Commander Group Captain Chris Snaith