Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Most weeks I seem to get an e-mail from someone asking me to sponsor them for charity. This involves a request for money, in exchange for which they usually promise to subject themselves to something markedly unpleasant, such as running, swimming or cycling a really long way, or maybe climbing something high and scary. I do sometimes wonder whether I'm parting with my cash out of a genuine desire to help the particular charity involved, or whether it's actually more out of a sense of relief that it's not me having to run, swim or cycle a really long way. Or maybe climb something high and scary, which would be particularly bad. Strangely, when I do promise to sponsor somebody, I've occasionally felt a twinge of guilt, brought about by the knowledge that my pledge of cash will contribute to the suffering of a friend who will as a result be obliged to run, swim or cycle a really long way. Or maybe climb something high and scary. Yes, I know it's their choice, but as a friend I should be counselling them against such folly, not inducing them to go through with it....

But what if there were a way to give to charity where everybody wins ? Where the charity receives some money. And there's no need for anyone to subject themselves to anything disagreeable like running, swimming or cycling a really long way. Or maybe climbing something high and scary. And there's no guilt. And what if, as an added bonus, you received something tangible and desirable to thank you for your donation ? Impossible ? Nope - I have found such a solution, and his name is Pudsey Bear.

Pudsey Bear, albeit my preferred pre-2011 version....

According to their website, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had its first ever broadcast appeal for children on Christmas Day 1927 which raised over £1000 for four children's charities. Televised appeals commenced in 1955, culminating in the adoption of a telethon format in 1980. This "Children in Need" telethon has continued every year to the present day, raising over £600 million for children's charities in the process. Children in Need adopted Pudsey Bear as its mascot in 1985.

Ah yes, you may ask, but what has this got to do with LEGO ? Well, if you hadn't already realised, we have been blessed with a LEGO version of Pudsey Bear in honour of Children in Need 2011.

Creator Set 30029 Pudsey Bear costs £4, of which at least £1 goes to the Children in Need appeal. Pudsey comes packed in a polybag, and I'm not sure if it's just me, but the bag feels different from usual - it seems to be made from softer plastic. Opening the bag reveals a set of tightly folded instructions, 2 smaller bags containing parts, and a plasticised rectangular sheet from which you detach Pudsey's bandage (picture below - click to enlarge).

The instructions (one side of which are shown below) are quite a feat of origami, emerging from the bag as a teeny 6 cm x 5 cm rectangle and then folding out into a surprisingly large, double-sided sheet which is actually considerably taller than an A4 sheet of paper.

Open the bags, and 15 building steps and a few minutes later you have your very own LEGO Pudsey Bear.

Pudsey's no one-trick pony, however - he can move his arms, legs and even his ears, as you can see below....

I've read some pretty unflattering comments about LEGO Pudsey since his release. Some people have even described him as "ugly". For shame ! OK, so he's hardly a faithful reproduction of the source material, but he's still quite cute, especially with his bandage removed. And if you really don't like him, just look at him as a nice little yellow parts pack and buy him anyway....

Overall, £4 for Pudsey seems very reasonable to me in comparison to the likes of 40020 Halloween Set which has almost a third fewer pieces for the same price. And he's for charity, which is another good reason to buy him. UK folks can buy him online here, or in person at a LEGO brand store, or at some ASDA supermarkets. Folks in the US and elsewhere will however have to badger their UK contacts to get them one as I don't think the set will be available outside the UK.

Please click here to donate to Children in Need; this year's Children in Need telethon is on November 18th, so mark your calendars....

1 comment:

  1. Bricki10/11/11

    Unfortunately, I have no contacts in the UK. Ah well.