Northern Ireland

BBC Children in Need appeal 2016: Barra Best and Jo Scott team up with Pudsey

BBC NI presenters Barra Best and Jo Scott hosted Northern Ireland's Children in Need appeal from Titanic, Belfast Image copyright William Cherry / Presseye
Image caption BBC NI presenters Barra Best and Jo Scott hosted Northern Ireland's Children in Need appeal from Titanic, Belfast

People in Northern Ireland generously supported this year's BBC Children in Need (CIN) appeal, as Belfast took part in the annual UK-wide live telethon.

BBC NI presenters Jo Scott and Barra Best hosted the local TV appeal, with a little help from Pudsey Bear.

CIN spends more than £8m to support 197 projects across Northern Ireland.

It is hoped local donations will exceed last year's total, when NI raised more than £900,000. NI's final 2016 figure will be announced on Saturday.

BBC Radio Ulster has been supporting Pudsey all this week, and the Hugo Duncan Show has already raised more than £18,000 with its annual on-air auction.

Image caption Hugo Duncan's fans always give generously to Children in Need, and got a big 'thumbs up' from Pudsey Bear

Now in its 11th year, a huge range of items went under the hammer, including tickets to sold-out concerts, a football signed by the 1981 Linfield football team and a meal out with Hugo himself.

Friday night's telethon kicked off at 19:30 GMT, with Greg James and Tess Daly hosting the UK-wide programme.

It began with a tribute to County Limerick native, Sir Terry Wogan, the longstanding presenter of Children In Need who died earlier this year.

In Titanic, Belfast, there were performances by award-winning pop tenor Eamonn McCrystal, from Cookstown, County Tyrone, and Dublin singer/songwriter Chloe Agnew, a former member of Celtic Women.

Image copyright William Cherry / Presseye
Image caption Eamonn McCrystal and Chloe Agnew sang for Pudsey in Belfast

One of the highlights of the night was a live performance by a UK-wide "superchoir".

It involved 178 children and young people from Northern Ireland joining more than 1,500 others from across the UK to sing "Lean on Me".

Jo and Barra also discovered the lengths people go to to raise money, while viewers watched stories from local children and young people who have benefited from the charity.

"I am absolutely delighted to be part of this year's Children in Need appeal as it's a charity dear to my heart," said Barra.

Image caption Give us a bear hug... Dig deep for Pudsey in the annual BBC Children in Need fundraiser

"I organise a Children in Need quiz every year with the help of some BBC colleagues and it's always great to see so many people donating so much money.

"I know some of the projects and schemes that benefit from Children in Need and I am in no doubt that many would struggle without this vital funding. Here's hoping we break records this year."

Image caption The BBC Newsline team put their headlines on hold to pose with Pudsey

Jo said: "One of the best things about BBC Children in Need is the way people really embrace it and it's brilliant to be involved with that enthusiasm and sense of fun.

"It's a total privilege to be presenting BBC Northern Ireland's contribution I'm in awe of everyone who supports such life changing work and only too delighted to be involved."

Before he got ready for the show, Pudsey came along to meet the Good Morning Ulster team in Belfast's Broadcasting House.

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Media captionPudsey pops into BBC Northern Ireland studios to meet the Good Morning Ulster team

On Saturday 19 November, Barra, Jo and Pudsey will be back for Children in Need: The Best Bits - a 70-minute special on BBC One Northern Ireland from 17:45 GMT, giving viewers the chance to relive the highlights from Friday night.

Saturday's programme will also take an extended look back at how the pupils from across Northern Ireland who took part in the 'Lean on Me' performance prepared for their live TV appearance.

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