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Smoking Pudsey Bear sparks outrage

PUBLISHED: 08:55 08 December 2011

Pudsey Bear pictured in November with Islington's former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke (left) and Tamara Ecclestone, daughter of F1 tycoon Bernie Ecclestone. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Pudsey Bear pictured in November with Islington's former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke (left) and Tamara Ecclestone, daughter of F1 tycoon Bernie Ecclestone. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

A fundraiser dressed as Children in Need’s Pudsey Bear took off the outfit’s head and started smoking in front of children, upsetting a two-year-old and angering her mum.

Suzanna Day said she was appalled to find the charity worker half in costume, smoking on a pub bench in Chapel Market, Islington, in view of youngsters.

She said her two-year-old daughter, Gracie, was excited to see the bear but was left confused and upset by the sight, which made her doubt whether Pudsey is real.

The mother-of-two, 23, of Laycock Street, Islington, said: “When we first saw the woman dressed as Pudsey, my daughter was so excited and we put some money in her collection bucket.

“We came back later and found the lady with the bear head off, but still in the rest of the costume, sitting outside the pub smoking a cigarette.

“My daughter was so upset and confused the whole way home. She kept saying: ‘That wasn’t a real bear’.

“Everyone’s entitled to a break, but she could have had the decency to go somewhere children are not going to see her smoking, or to take the whole outfit off.”

The BBC’s Children in Need appeal was broadcast on Friday, November 18, and raised £26million for children’s charities.

The half-dressed Pudsey was seen outside the Round Midnight pub, on the corner of Chapel Market and Liverpool Road, the following week in the daytime.

Landlord Michelle Berk said: “I saw the bear in the market, but I had no idea this happened and I’m very upset to hear it.

“I would have thought, being an ambassador for Children in Need, you would want to keep that disguise the entire time.

“It sets a bad example to children to be smoking in it, and there were lots of children around looking at that bear.”

A BBC Children in Need spokeswoman said: “We are grateful this matter has been brought to our attention and are extremely concerned at the behaviour reported, which is a clear breach of our guidelines and completely unacceptable.

“It’s very important that the public let us know of such incidents so we can operate at the highest standards possible and continue to change the lives of disadvantaged children here in the UK.”


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