PUDSEY was out and about on Wearside raising money for Children in Need.
Scores of schools, businesses and organisations had a day of fun to support the annual event.
Among them were the staff and pupils at Sunderland’s Sunningdale School who were thrilled by a visit from Pudsey.
James Waller, deputy headteacher at the special needs primary school in Shaftoe Road, said playing host to the bear made the day for the youngsters.
He said: “It was absolutely fantastic for the children. To them he is a real life walking, talking bear.
“We have one little boy who will not come into morning assembly because he doesn’t like crowds, but he stayed for the entire length of the assembly because Pudsey was there, which was a great breakthrough.”
The children at the school also threw themselves into a range of other fund-raising activities, such as sponsored events and cake sales.
Mr Waller said: “All the staff and pupils got dressed up for the day. We had a lot of Spidermen.”
Pudsey went along to Sunningdale as part of a team of 140 BT volunteers who manned the phones last night to take pledges at a North East call centre.
After visiting the school, Pudsey went on to visit the children and staff on the paediatric ward at Sunderland Royal Hospital, putting a smile on the faces of the sick youngsters.
Also, making a splash for Children in Need was a brave group of students from Sunderland Springboard.
The young people donned their onesies and plunged into the freezing North Sea at Roker for the sponsored plodge.
Customers and staff at Asda in Peterlee joined in raising money for the charity appeal.
Karen Bell, community life colleague at the East Durham store, said they had a lot of activities such as face painting, raffles and a tombola going on throughout the day and all the staff wore Children in Need T-shirts.
She said: “Everyone was enjoying themselves, especially the children.”