Children In Need arrived in Durham early this year as a very special football tournament took place at the North Durham Academy in Stanley.

The world famous Pudsey Bear was both host and special guest at the fancy dress football tournament that was held on the Academy’s sports fields in central Stanley and which drew an enthusiastic and colourful group of players.

Pudsey and organiser, Lewis Christie, give the pre-match team talk.
Pudsey and organiser, Lewis Christie, give the pre-match team talk.
Thumbs up from Pudsey and the girls.
Thumbs up from Pudsey and the girls.
The BBC North East presenters at Beamish in 2011.
The BBC North East presenters at Beamish in 2011.

From Pudsey, himself, to Spiderman, sexy medical staff, and a host of other characters, they all took to the pitch to play a continuous tournament where, when one needed to go off for a rest , another took their place.

The event is the brainchild of local lad Lewis Christie who was inspired to show that Stanley has a positive side following a succession of negative stories and events last year. These began with two fires, just weeks apart, that saw major landmarks and businesses in the town affected by two major fires.

The 17 year-old decided to do something positive and has lined up a series of Children In Need events. Beginning this Sunday with the football tournament and followed in August by a Fun Day and on November 14th with a major event on the evening of the televised appeal.

Just ahead of the event, Lewis commented “I first thought of organizing events throughout the year while watching last year’s Children In Need appeal and additionally, because I wanted to show the positive side to Stanley following a period of negative press involving the two major high street fires the town experienced last year”

“I gathered a team of local, like-thinking people together last year and it’s been non-stop organising and planning events for people in Stanley and, of course, raising funds for a really amazing cause. Namely, Children In Need.”

This weekend’s fancy dress football event was held at a brand new venue and one that was first to join Lewis in his fundraising efforts.

“The football event is our first event of this kind and a special thanks must go to North Durham Academy and its new facilities in Stanley for allowing us to use the venue for our events. And, along with Stanley Events, who have also assisted us in producing what, in the end, was a great afternoon.”

On the event, itself, Lewis revealed “This was our first event and the main aim is to have fun. It doesn’t matter if anyone involved couldn’t play football as it was all about having a good time and many participants were in fancy dress, and it was all about raising money.

And, true to form, Pudsey was the hero of the day as he scored a winning goal and later handed out trophies to the winning teams.

In the end, the event raised approximately £200 for the Children In Need Charity and further events will add more to the overall amount by the main transmission night on November 14th,

Stanley, has of course, played it’s part in Children in Need in recent years when, in 2011, the live regional outside broadcast came from Beamish Open Air Museum.

A host of stars appeared on the night, along with Pudsey and the BBC North East presenters, Colin Briggs, Paul Mooney and Charlie Charlton.

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Jim Callan
I am a professional photographer,journalist and writer with over 35 years of experience in producing award-winning images and articles covering a multitude if subjects that have ranged from popular music, film and charity events to celebrity, live events and press /media coverage. Along the way, I have run my own businesses and have held editorial and photo-library managerial positions. However, photography and meeting people have always been my passions. I have been fortunate in getting to meet a number of my favourite celebrities across the years as well as many, many others. I have also covered many state events, regional events and other such occasions. Many of my favourites having been in London, South Tyneside and regions around the country. And, especially, abroad in cities such as Paris. I still get a thrill from seeing my work in print. Even after all these years.


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