As iconic children’s TV show Blue Peter celebrates its 60th anniversary, Haywards Heath-based charity, Sightsavers is looking back at the 1986 Blue Peter appeal that gave the organisation its name.
Blue Peter’s Sight Saver appeal in 1986 asked children to host bring-and-buy sales to fund mobile eye units in Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania.
The aim was to raise £100,000 for the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, the original name of Sightsavers.
During the appeal, more than 32,000 bring-and-buy sales took place across the country, far exceeding the initial fundraising target. The final total came to more than £2 million.
Sightsavers liked the ‘Sight Saver’ name so much that the organisation re-branded and changed its name that year.
Blue Peter editor, Biddy Baxter said: “The appeal smashed all its targets and raised almost 20 times its original goal. Two million people in Africa will have their sight saved as a result.”
Blue Peter presenter, Mark Curry, said: “The 1986 appeal is one of the standout memories for me from my time on the programme.
“I will never forget watching children walking hand in hand with their blind or partially sighted parents and grandparents.”
The anniversary edition of the show will be the 5,037th episode.