STAFF at the Barclays call centre on Gadbrook Park, Rudheath, joked their way through Comic Relief on Friday to help raise £530,000 in pledges for Red Nose Day.
Gadbrook was officially the country's number one Comic Relief call centre and staff rose to the occasion by volunteering to man the phones from
6.30pm on Friday until 2am the following morning taking telephone pledges from the public.
Their marathon stint broke all records for the highest number of calls taken and also for the total amount raised in pledges.
More than 650 red-nosed staff and volunteers took calls throughout the night and were amazed at the sum of the amounts pledged by the public.
Barclays chief executive for UK Banking, Roger Davis, and Christine Martindale, the regional communications manager for the North West, also helped to man the phones.
At 2am Roger shook hands with all the volunteers as they left for home, tired but elated with their result.
Christine said: 'The centre was electric, volunteers wouldn't leave the phones and refreshments were served at the desks. The calls ranged from a local pensioner donating her week's pension to young children donating their 25p pocket money to much larger donations of £500 and £5,000.'
To help the fundraising along staff also got up to some red nosed antics of their own with legs and head shaves helping top up the pot. Their efforts with donations from Barclays raised more than £12,000.
Roger added: 'In 2003, the team at Gadbrook took 8,500 pledges amounting to £235,000. This year they have exceeded expectations and it is down to the generosity of everyone in the UK and Northern Ireland and the enthusiasm of the staff and volunteers here at Gadbrook. The number of pledges exceeded 19,000.'
Rob Hawthorn, head of Gadbrook said: 'We have built on our experiences in 2003 and created an even more spectacular event.
'The staff worked tirelessly and we all enjoyed the fun of the evening, but took a serious numbers of phone calls. I must thank all the volunteers who helped, Nicola Dutton, Elise Astle and the organising team did a terrific job.' nSee pages 22 and 23.