THOUSANDS of pounds have been raised for needy youngsters as Comet country residents did their bit for this year’s Children in Need appeal.

Fundraising has taken on some unusual forms with Letchworth GC resident Steve Shambrook keeping his promise by having Pudsey Bear tattooed on the side of his hip on Friday.

The manager of Greggs bakery said: “I’ve got tattoos on my shoulder but they didn’t hurt as much as this one. It was quite close to bone but I just thought of the money I was raising and that kept me going.”

Artist Aiden Caine has also come up with a novel idea to raise funds by attempting to have his picture taken with as many celebrities as possible through to Christmas Day.

So far the Stevenage resident has been snapped with actor and singer-songwriter David Essex, rock and roll singer Joe Brown and former Bay City Rollers frontman Les McKeown.

Aidan said: “I am making a donation to Children in Need for each celebrity photo I manage to get but sponsorship and celebrities to help are very welcome.”

There were plenty of star performers at Marriotts Sports Centre in Stevenage on Saturday when visitors to the school in Telford Avenue joined with staff in fancy dress to complete 10,000 star jumps.

Combined with bucket collections and the sale of hot drinks, more than �200 was raised.

Schoolchildren in Baldock and Letchworth GC had a visit from Pudsey himself on Friday as the mascot collected for the cause.

Pupils at St Mary’s Junior School, wearing pyjamas or spotty clothing, donated almost �340 after holding raffles, competitions and baking and selling cakes throughout the day.

Icknield Infant School also made its mark by playing games with Pudsey and raising more than �300.

Even businesses have been dressing down for the occasion, with staff at Hitchin Specsavers turning up for work in their pyjamas. Their lack of effort earned �76 for the charity.

Employees at EV-S Hair Design in Letchworth GC have also got over the shock of covering themselves in goo last weekend and, with the help of more PJ-wearing and selling cakes, have now raised �200.

Hitchin Lions Club kept it simple by collecting money from generous members of the public at Hitchin Railway Station between 7am and 9am on Friday.

President Kavaljit Dev said: “This year Hitchin Lions Club is focussing its fundraising on the needs of children and it seemed appropriate that we should do our bit for Children in Need. We are grateful to Network Rail and the staff at Hitchin station for allowing us the opportunity to raise money for such a wonderful cause. However, our main thanks must go to the commuters for giving so generously.”