Saturday, December 30, 2023

Children in Need

Photos courtesy of Unsplash 

What has Solomon from the Old Testament, the prophet Joel, again from the Old Testament, the late Sir Terry Wogan and Pudsey Bear got in common? Care for children, for ‘Children in Need’ to use the phrase from the BBC’s annual appeal as it raises millions of pounds to fund services for children. 
In Psalm 127, which is a song by Solomon for worship, we read that “Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.” As a comprehensive school teacher, I have had the privilege of working with thousands of youngsters for over 25 years now and also had the privilege of helping out in Sunday school work and Youth work. Children have, and continue to be a very important part of my day-to-day life. 

This is how the book of Joel starts: 

“The word of the Lord that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, you elders, and give ear, all you inhabitants of the land!

Has anything like this happened in your days,

Or even in the days of your fathers?
Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, and their children another generation.” 
Who would not want to pass on good news and family history to a child? Similarly, who would not want to see a child thrive? This is a major goal of Children in Need as it partners with UK organisations to help children and young people from all over Britain overcome challenges of different levels.  
The first ever children’s BBC radio appeal was made on Christmas Day in 1927 and the first televised appeal came 28 years later in 1955. It was in 1978 that the late Sir Terry Wogan became associated with Children in Need. He continued to take a lead role in the TV appeals until 2014 including the very first telethon which was aired in 1980. These have continued to be developed over the years as the BBC’s normal Friday evening schedule is suspended allowing for different clips and performers to entertain with the viewing public being encouraged to donate. An impressive £1 million was raised in the first show! 
It was five years later that Pudsey Bear was introduced to our TV screens as a plain, brown, cuddly bear. In the following year, he got a makeover but still kept a bandana over his right eye. Moving forward to 2007, Pudsey underwent another makeover including a more colourful bandana. This is the Pudsey that we all know and love today. 
In 2016, the life of Sir Terry Wogan was celebrated with the BBC Children in Need Rocks for Terry concert along with the introduction of the Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year Award. Two years later and the telethon appeals had raised their first £1 billion. 
Before closing, allow me to ask how important to you are children? Jesus once said “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Jesus also said that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  

Fundraising ideas for Children in Need have taken many forms over the years. Cake baking, rickshaw challenges, dressing up and sponsored events are often celebrated at the bottom of our TV screens during the Friday evening broadcast with updates from different parts of the UK. Major companies also do their bit. There are so many creative ways of raising much needed funds for our children in need. Well done to all and let us thank God for our children…not just on Children in Need Day but every day.



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