Thousands of people raised their hats to greet the region’s most famous bear on Ted’s Big Day Out, raising money for the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Big Ted visited Daisychain Nursery and Mavern House Nursing Home in Melksham and St George’s CE Primary School in Semington last Friday to see their fundraising efforts for the cancer care campaign.

The annual Forever Friend’s appeal encourages people to take their teddy bears to work and school. The theme this year was wear a wig or raise your hat to raise money for RUH’s new cancer centre.

Children at Daisychain Nursery had cake sales and teddy bear picnics in the week leading up to Big Ted’s visit and on the day they joined staff in wearing red and donning hats and wigs, raising £240.

Daisychain Nursery proprietor Rachel Spanswick said: “The children really loved Big Ted. They were waving and sitting on his lap.

“We have explained some children are poorly and some need to go into hospital and some have to stay there. We also do activities about people that help us, such as doctors and dentists, so the children get used to what is going on.”

After his visit to Mavern House Nursing Home last Friday, Big Ted met all the children at St George’s CE Primary in Semington who, along with the staff, had donned hats and wigs.

Headteacher Peter Krayer said: “It was a surprise, so when the children found out they were so excited. They danced and hugged him.

“The children support local charities and this fits in really well with the school’s community feel.”

The Forever Friend’s Appeal aims to raise £8m towards the cost of building a pioneering cancer centre, which will balance clinical expertise with a nurturing and therapeutic environment. Joanna Hones, events and community officer for the appeal, said: “We have had a really fabulous amount of support.

“All ages get involved, which is brilliant to see. We are already starting to see money being sent in, so we are encouraging people to send in what they have raised. If you didn’t take part but want to make a donation, please visit our website.”

To donate, visit