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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 November, 2004, 07:27 GMT
Children In Need rustles up 17m
Tony Blair and Pudsey
Prime Minister Tony Blair joins in the fun with Pudsey
The 25th Children in Need appeal has raised over 17m on the night - up from 15.5m in 2003, the BBC says.

The annual telethon celebrated its anniversary with hundreds of events throughout the UK to raise money for disadvantaged children.

In one event, a BBC radio DJ broke the world record for the longest on-air marathon, more than 100 hours.

Newsreaders Natasha Kaplinsky, Sophie Raworth and Fiona Bruce performed as Bananarama in another highlight.

Pop stars including Girls Aloud, Westlife, and Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield also performed songs.

The whole country comes together and says this is a cause worth supporting
Tony Blair
The cast of Coronation Street also featured in the telethon.

Last year's event hit the 30m mark for the first time in its history, including the donations that flood in in the weeks after the live broadcast. The first, in 1980, raised more than 1m.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire DJ Max Rushden began his record-breaking broadcast at 1500 GMT on Sunday.

He only took naps between records and has raised more than 4,000 for the appeal.

Christmas broadcast

On Friday morning, Prime Minister Tony Blair met some children who have been helped by money raised from last year's appeal.

Mr Blair said of Children In Need: "There's this huge sense of coming together - the whole country comes together and says this is a cause worth supporting.

Some of the stars who have given their support to Children in Need over the years

"We still need Children In Need because whatever wealth the country has as a whole there are kids who have been either thrown out of their families or come from very, very poor circumstances and they are not in the ordinary education system and the ordinary social services - that's not going to help them."

Among the groups to benefit is The Downs Syndrome Educational Trust in Portsmouth, which has been awarded 20,000 a year for the next three years.

Katrina Skipsey, whose four-year-old daughter Violet has Downs Syndrome, said cash from Children in Need was a vital and welcome boost.

This year's Children In Need single is I'll Stand By You, a cover of the old Pretenders classic, by girl band Girls Aloud.

The BBC's first broadcast appeal for children took place in 1927, in the form of a five-minute radio broadcast on Christmas Day.

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It raised about 1,143 which equates to about 27,150 by today's standards.

The first televised appeal took place in 1955 and was called the Children's Hour Christmas Appeal, with Sooty and Harry Corbett fronting it.

Dramatic increase

The appeal in 1980 was broadcast for the first time as a telethon.

This event, hosted by Terry Wogan, Sue Lawley and Esther Rantzen, captured the public's imagination to such an extent that the amount raised increased dramatically to more than 1 million.

Pudsey Bear followed five years later and is now the BBC Children in Need's mascot and official logo.




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Watch highlights of the event



SEE ALSO:
In Pictures: Children in Need
20 Nov 04 |  In Pictures
Pudsey is ready to rock
19 Nov 04 |  North East Wales
NI joins in Pudsey fun
19 Nov 04 |  Northern Ireland
Children in Need anniversary bash
19 Nov 04 |  Scotland


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