LITTLE Johnjoe Evans could bearly believe who he met while he was out shopping with his mum.
Because as wandered around the perfume department at Boots in the Eagles Meadow Shopping Centre in Wrexham, casually walking up to him came his hero, none other than Pudsey Bear himself.
Four-year-old Johnjoe was totally shocked at seeing the cuddly mascot of Children in Need, but soon recovered and spent the next few minutes enthusiastically shaking his paw.
Pudsey was at the busy Boots branch as the star of its own special Children in Need fundraising day organised by manager Jo Stringfellow.
Apart from the big bear with the famous head bandage, the major attraction was a raffle carrying a host of valuable prizes donated by Boots’ neighbouring businesses in Eagles Meadow and also Wrexham town centre.
And, as Jo explained, the aim was to top last year’s already respectable Children in Need fundraising total of £600.
She said: “Boots nationally and at Eagles Meadow always support Children in Need which we think is a fantastic cause.
“Last year we managed to raise £600 here at the Eagles Meadow store, which wasn’t bad at all. But this year we are confident of topping that total and the way things have been going we’re with selling tickets for our raffle and other donations it looks like we’re going to have no trouble doing that.
“Our branch is part of the new Healthy High Street campaign, which aims to promote shops and businesses in Eagles Meadow as well as those in the centre of Wrexham.
“To help boost our Children in Need collection this year we’re very grateful to have received contributions from a number of big businesses, including Marks & Spencer and the Co-op.
“The Co-op has donated the star prize for our raffle, a 16-piece children’s football strip, which will kit out an entire junior football squad. The Co-op also donated a food hamper as another raffle prize.
“Mococo, the fashion jewellery store at Eagles Meadow, let us have a £25 gift voucher and Marks & Spencer at Eagles Meadow contributed all the mince pies which were handing out to our customers on Children in Need day along with glasses of bubbly and red wine.
“It’s been a great day and having Pudsey himself visit our store was the icing on the cake!”
When Pudsey sidled into the Boots perfume department, one of his biggest fans, young Johnjoe Evans, from Brynteg in Wrexham, hadn’t been expecting to meet his hero, as his mum, Shirley Evans, explained.
She said: “Myself and a few friends along with our children were just looking around the perfume when Pudsey suddenly appeared and Johnjoe couldn’t believe his eyes.
“He’s a massive Pudsey fan and just loves him. In fact, he has all the Pudsey stuff like pyjamas, a key-ring and hats.
“As Johnjoe himself has some problems with his speech, we as a family know what a fantastic job Children in Need does and we support the charity every year.”
Apart from making Johnjoe’s day, Pudsey also won himself a brand new fan in Boots when he met and greeted two-year-old Alfie Douglas from Brymbo.
His mum, Kirsty Williams, said: “As he’s so young this is the first time Alfie’s ever seen Pudsey but he was cuddling up to him and shaking his hand, so I think he’s definitely going to a big fan of his from now on.
“We always watch Children in Need on the TV and I’m glad to have had the chance to help with the fundraising being done by Boots because it’s such an amazing charity which helps so many children.”