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    • Pudsey Bear Distresses Locals In British Shopping Mall

      By Steven Callahan, in News,
      A trip to Trinity shopping centre in Leeds turned from fun to shocking for a girl and her mother after they encountered a mascot from a children's charity. The person dressed as Pudsey Bear, the mascot character for the BBC's Children in Need, was photographed alongside a seven-year-old girl by her mother. After sharing the photo with her sister, she realized that the mascot's costume appeared to have an appendage resembling male genitalia between its legs.
        The woman said she was horrified when she noticed the oddity on the costume. She said it wasn't clear if the person in the suit was genuinely collecting money for charity or if they were a paedophile using it as an excuse to approach children. The BBC released a statement saying they are investigating the incident to ensure it does not happen again. The woman later searched the shopping centre but could not locate the person dressed as Pudsey. It is unclear how many other children encountered the person dressed in the costume.
        She contacted the BBC and was told that the fund-raiser was not officially sanctioned. BBC officials said that Pudsey suits are issued with certain guidelines for how they are to be worn and used. Official suits are sometimes distributed for fund-raising events. They confirmed that the costumes are not designed to include the appendage on the suit seen by the mother. The statement raised the possibility that the suit was an official version which had been altered or a homemade costume.
        Children in Need distributes grant money to projects across the UK which aid youths facing poverty, neglect, or disabilities. It relies heavily on donations and Pudsey the Bear is a popular character who serves as a face for the organization. Over 2,400 youth programmes receive support from Children in Need.
  • Interviews
    • Houston Rockets "Clutch" Comes Through in a Pinch

      By Justin Jolley, in Mascot Interviews,
      Robert Boudwin has been "Clutch" the mascot of the Houston Rockets for more than 20 years. And it's easy tell.
      "I love doing this," he said in a recent interview with Mascotinsider.com. "A lot of people diss being a mascot, but I consider it an important role. There probably aren't many kids out there who say 'I'd like to grow up to be a mascot, but for me it's the ultimate."
      Boudwin started as a mascot for his high school, eventually moving on in the same role for his college, the University of Delaware. Finally, as a senior in college, he tried out for a mascot role for the Houston Rockets, which he started more than 20 seasons ago, and hasn't looked back yet.
      It's a good thing that he enjoys it since there's almost never a Rockets even of any sort that Clutch doesn't make an appearance. He calls it more than a job, it's a calling. And that calling has taken him across the country and around the world many times, entertaining for practically every kind of group, from the homeless to military troops.
      Boudwin is so serious about his craft that he teaches the "art" of mascoting every year at a "boot camp" for potential mascots from schools across the country, even though he calls it a means of paying back. "I've had a lot of great mentors in my time, and that inspires me," he added. "A lot of people have helped me along the way, so I think I owe them. I guess you could call it 'paying forward.'"
      "I hate to make it sound like it's a religious thing, but in a way it is," he explained. "In fact, if you think about it, it has to be since it's not easy to put on a character's suit, walk out onto a basketball court, and try to be funny or otherwise get an keep the fans attention. You have to be devoted to it or it doesn't work."
      Needless to say, Clutch does it, to the tune of hundreds of appearances every year. It doesn't matter whether it's an event for the city, parties, and anything else, Boudwin says that nobody gets shortchanged when it comes to his work. "I consider it an important job since when I'm out there, wherever there might happen to be, I'm representing the Rockets, and I consider that an important responsiblity."
      Boudwin explained that he doesn't see how he feels as a mascot much differently than with others. "I think that most mascots feel the same way I do," he said. "A mascot has to go out there and there's a mutual dependence between him and the crowd, and the team also. When I can get the crowd going, it gets the team going also. Everybody feels it, and that's a great feeling for me too. When I can get that mutual excitement going, everybody wins, and I can say I did my job."