BRITAIN’S Olympic rowers took part in a comical dancing routine for Children in Need.
The gold-medal winning four of Pete Reed, Alex Gregory, Andy Triggs Hodge and Tom James performed to Beyoncť’s Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) during the BBC telethon on Friday night.
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They then joined fellow gold medallists Anna Watkins, Katherine Grainger, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning in “rowing” on office chairs.
The routine helped boost the total raised on the night to a record £26,757,446.
Many fund-raising events took place in the Henley area, especially in schools. Reed, a Leander Club athlete, said: “I am not a dancer at all. It’s actually a fear of mine but Children in Need is a great charity so I just had to man up and give it my best shot. We had a lot of fun as a crew that day. It turns out that we are all trainable and it’s good not to take yourself too seriously.”
Watkins, a Leander sculler, said: “It was great fun to take part. We’re not natural dancers but they found something even we could do, although we’re not quite ready for Strictly yet! I think the boys enjoyed doing Single Ladies way too much.”
Many children raised money by paying to wear spotty clothes to school. St Mary’s School in Henley raised £152.10 this way while Icknield Community College in Watlington made £473.40 and Peppard Primary School raised £80.
Caversham Preparatory School raised about £100 while children at Benson Primary School and RAF Benson Primary School made about £315 and £200 respectively.
Steph Fawdry, headteacher at the RAF base’s school, said: “Both children and staff had a great day which ended with an assembly explaining the importance of supporting children and organisations who help those who are less fortunate than ourselves.”
At Kidmore End pre-school children raised £34 and at Emmer Green Primary children dressed up in spotty clothing and made cupcakes, raising more than £400.
Pupils at other schools wore pyjamas to raise money. Watlington Primary made more than £200 this way. Jane Fowler, school business manager, said: “We always do something for Children in Need and this year all the children and most of the staff joined in.”
Staff and pupils at Valley Road primary in Henley raised £177 by dressing up in “onesies”. Woodcote Primary raised £150, Caversham Park primary made more than £300 and Stoke Row primary raised £107.20. Children at Whitchurch primary raised £137.80 by paying to take their teddies into school with them.
Pupils at Trinity School in Henley dressed as their favourite book character, raising £301.74, while a dress-up day organised by the student union at The Henley College made £160. Union secretary Jake Smith said: “We all thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would like to thank everyone who took part.”
Pupils at Shiplake primary wore their brightest clothes and raised about £200. A non-uniform day at Sacred Heart primary in Henley raised £160 and another at the Piggott School in Wargrave, which was combined with a a cake sale, raised more than £1,000.
The school council at Sonning Common Primary School organised a cake sale which raised £292.25 and at Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common, one pupil raised money by singing everything she wanted to say for the whole day.
Pupils at Crazies Hill primary raised money by decorating hats and entering a colouring competition. The children spent the day completing Pudsey-themed activities such as decorating biscuits with icing and making puppets.
Musicians Barry Rosier and Roy Featherstone performed in Henley market place for the seventh consecutive year, raising £505.50.
Staff at the Catherine Wheel pub in Hart Street, Henley, waxed their bodies and wore “onesies”, raising £217. Barman Andy Mason had his chest hair removed and manager Tom Ball allowed colleagues to rip waxing strips off his legs. Bar and hotel staff wore fancy dress costumes all day and asked customers to donate £1 each.