THEY were invited to come and giggle.
And laugh and smile they certainly did as hundreds of people were funny for money at a bumper Red Nose weekend in Emsworth.
The town, the first official Red Nose Town in Britain, pulled out all the stops to make sure it was a memorable occasion and thousands of pounds was raised for Comic Relief.
Decked in red bunting and balloons, there was a carnival atmosphere throughout the weekend as a variety of wacky events was laid on.
Yesterday it was a spectacle to see hundreds of coins that people had put on the Mill Pond wall to create a huge shiny chain from Emsworth Sailing Club to Slipper Sailing Club.
And scores of people gathered along the River Ems as businesses set free their plastic ‘ducks’ in a charity race.
There was a happy vibe on Saturday morning as dozens of schoolchildren set up their own market and sold their wares to raise money.
Fancy dress was the order of the day and over at the fire station firefighters transformed themselves into superheroes to cycle 722 miles on static bicycles.
The distance was the equivalent of cycling from Emsworth to John O’Groats.
Firefighter Phil Lamb, 37, who dressed as Wonder Woman, said: ‘The support has been absolutely massive.
We are the first Red Nose Town and everyone has put a lot of effort in
‘I cycled on the bike for four hours and I have seen people coming by, loads of waving and loads of donations.
‘It’s good community spirit and happy days all-round.’
Iesha Cripps, 17, was one of several air cadets taking part in the challenge.
She said: ‘It’s hard work but it’s been a laugh.’
The Crown pub in Emsworth was the venue for a Comedy Club Night, with performances from comedians Matt Rees, Tom Toal, and Sooz Kempner, among others.
Mum Emma Turner spoke of her pride as her daughter Brooke Turner, 11, and her best friend Georgina Graham did a seven-hour sponsored silence and raised more than £65.
On Saturday they painted their faces and donned red noses to sell their own pizzas at the market.
Perry Dodgson, watch manager at Emsworth fire station, said: ‘It’s been absolutely amazing.
‘It highlights the community spirit in the Emsworth area.’
June Hermann, 51, manager at Heidi’s Bakery in Emsworth, said: ‘It’s brought everyone together.
‘We are the first Red Nose Town and everyone has put a lot of effort in.’
Organisers are hoping for a big final total
THE final tally for Emsworth’s fundraising efforts is not expected to be finalised until Wednesday – but organisers are hoping it will be big.
The Comedy Club Nights have been a sell-out and more than 1,500 red noses have been sold over the last few days.
A fashion show last Friday at Emsworth Yacht Harbour raised around £1,000 and the Silent Disco in St Peter’s Square attracted more than 250 people.
There were of a flurry of donations at the Young Gigglers Market and this is expected to boost the final total.
Alistair Gibson, one of the organisers, said the atmosphere had been ‘joyous’.
He added: ‘It has just been amazing to see the community – from young to old – coming together to raise funds and at the same time have so much fun.
‘It just seemed that everyone wanted to be part of it and had a smile on their face.’
had earlier saluted Emsworth for its efforts, with his wife Emma Freud describing it as a ‘brilliantly imaginative programme’ and Emsworth as ‘the greatest small town in Britain’.