Colleagues at our stores across the country are getting behind this year's BBC Children in Need appeal – like Sandra Deakins and Phil Henderson who joined Pudsey for a special visit to a primary school ... in Pudsey.

They read his first book, Playtime with Pudsey, to reception class pupils at Park Spring Primary School as part of our Power of Play initiative with BBC Children in Need. Money raised at Asda this year is being used to help inspire youngsters with new playtime ideas and give disadvantaged children more opportunities to play.

Sandra, who's our Pudsey store's community champion, volunteers regularly with the school, joining younger pupils to help them with their reading exercises.

She said: "Alongside the teachers I encourage the children to read to me on an individual basis. I really enjoy it - you can see the children's reading skills really improve throughout the school year, and you can tell the kids really enjoy it too."

Cat Haughton, a reception teacher and early years leader at the school, said: "The kids loved it and were talking about it all day. Sandra and Phil were great and really inspired some imaginative play amongst the kids.

"They've been dressing up as pirates and doctors off the back of some of the scenes in the book. This sort of activity develops their communication skills, social skills and imagination. Sandra has volunteered with us for several years; she's really helpful."

Asda book buyer Phil helped create Pudsey's book.

He said: "I'm incredibly passionate about childrens' literacy so it was great to read 'Playtime with Pudsey' to the children and see them really get involved.

"One of the things I love about the book is it's full of ideas and you can engage children in it. They can lose themselves in it. It's relatable – most kids play shop, play pirates or doctors or build dens and these ideas are reflected in the book.

"It's all about the power of play and getting the message through that imagination is free and needs to be nurtured."

Playtime with Pudsey is available in these Asda stores now. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to BBC Children in Need.

Colleagues in our stores have been busy raising money for BBC Children in Need by visiting schools and playgroups, running in-store tombolas and fun games for customers – with Pudsey making a few appearances in stores too. We've also got a range of products available in store and online that are raising money for the appeal.