Colleagues at our Harwich store pulled out all the stops for seven-year-old Oliver Howe when he wrote to ask if Pudsey bear could make a special appearance at his birthday party.
Oliver loves everything about Pudsey and really looks forward to seeing him in the store in the weeks before BBC Children in Need. His letter was seen by Deirdre Scott from the store – and she was only too happy to help. As well as bringing Pudsey to the event she also presented Oliver with a bag full of Pudsey goodies.
Oliver had a fantastic time with Pudsey, his friends and family. His parents Sam and Alex are regular customers at the store with Oliver and his brothers Charlie, who's five, and 18-month-old Noah.
Sam said: "When Pudsey came in he shouted 'Pudsey!' and burst into tears – happy tears – because he was overwhelmed. He wasn't the only one – when everyone saw his reaction I don't think there was a dry eye in the house! We're so grateful.
"Since he's been old enough to recognise Pudsey he's loved him. He watches videos, he's got teddies, onesies, T-shirts – pretty much everything Pudsey-related you can get. He even likes his brothers to get involved too.
"A few weeks ago we started organising a party for his birthday and he asked me 'do you think Pudsey could come to my party?'.
"I told him that Pudsey was a very busy bear but he could write a letter and ask, so I took it in and gave it to Deirdre.
"I just hoped there might be a slight possibility of her bringing Pudsey but I was amazed when she said yes. I knew he would be absolutely made up.
"Oliver has high functioning autism and Pudsey is one of the things he absolutely loves. He has sensory issues and anxiety, but he's brilliant academically. Sometimes talking to him is like talking to an adult."
Oliver's letter said "VIP! Dear Pudsey bear please can you come to my family party I have been a big fan of yours many years.
"I love the work you do for poorly children so it's time for a break. From Oliver x"
Deirdre said: "I don't think I've ever seen a child as excited as Oliver when we brought Pudsey in! It was absolutely lovely to see and it made everything worthwhile.
"Oliver and all of his family and friends are so lovely, so it was a pleasure to join them on his big day."