A BABY bear and bankers playing pirates were among kids and the young at heart raising money for Children in Need.

Pupils and workers across south Essex dressed down or came in costume for the children’s charity on Friday.

One the youngest – and cutest - fundraisers was 15-month-old Solenne Swinscoe-Hunt, who raised more than £60 by collecting donations in a teddy bear outfit with her mother Nyreeann in Southend High Street.

Mrs Swinscoe-Hunt, of Sudbury Close, Hawkwell, said: “It was not long before shoppers were approaching Solenne for photographs and the ‘oos’ and ‘awws’ were flowing thick and fast.”

About 30 staff from the Royal Bank of Scotland on Southend Arterial Road and their families and friends gave two performances of the panto Peter Pan to a sell-out crowd at Hawkwell Village Hall on Saturday.

Staff at Basildon Sporting Village held a pyjama volleyball match on Friday and more than 80 customers donned nightwear for a Zumba class in the evening.

General manager Tom Fletcher, who wore a Superman onesie, said: “So far there is still money coming in but we have got a couple of hundred pounds.”

Every pupil at Great Berry Primary School, Langdon Hills, made a donation to bring in a teddy bear and members of the school council sold Pudsey key rings and wristbands.

Pupils and staff at Thundersley Primary School paid £1 to come in pyjamas and some pupils sold homemade cakes.

Each class of Grove Wood Primary School, Rayleigh, was given £10 to create a business or product to be sold at the end of the week, with proceeds going to the charity.

Hall Road Kindergarten, Rochford, also held a fundraiser.