COMIC capers and fun fund-raising by thousands of Worcestershire people helped make it a record Red Nose Day as people said Pants to Poverty.

Cash is still pouring in, but Comic Relief chiefs were celebrating today after the national cash total was put at £22m - up £9m on last year.

Generous Evening News readers helped the fund-raising effort with a penny from every copy of the paper sold going straight to Comic Relief.

"It's a great effort and we hope to help do something really worthwhile," said editor Stewart Gilbert.

Events are going on over the weekend, with punters from The Plough, in Worcester's Deansway, due to pull a fire engine from the nearby station to the pub at 2pm today.

Fun events were planned to take place in the grounds of the city's Fownes Hotel today, and the city's Jon Quality Hairdressing will be blow-drying coiffeurs for Comic Relief on Monday.

* A BUILDER working on the renovation of Worcester's Guildhall was given thousands of reasons to smile during Red Nose Day.

Kevin Reeves thought he was going potty when popular city antiques expert Henry Sandon valued a family heirloom during yesterday's charity roadshow, held to raise cash for the Arthritis Research Campaign.

The 48-year-old builder, who is site manager at the Guildhall during the restoration work, said he couldn't believe his ears when the Antiques Roadshow celebrity valued the blue and yellow bowl at £3,000.

"It was quite a shock," he said.

"The last time we had it valued was 12 years ago, and it was between £300 and £400 then.

"I was a wonderful piece of news and put a smile on my face for Comic Relief."

Mr Reeves, who lives in Birmingham, added the bowl had been left to his partner by her mother, who was originally given it as a wedding present.

"I just decided to put it in my van and see how much it was worth," he said.

Henry Sandon's son John, also an antiques expert, said the bowl was highly collectable and had been made at the Wedgwood factory in the 1920s.

"It's a Fairyland Lustre bowl made by a very well-known designer, Daisy Makeig-Jones, who invented a curious fairyland world full of goblins and creatures," he said.

"It's very colourful and well made and in good condition."

Mr Sandon spent yesterday at the hall with his father valuing items to raise money for the ARC, one of Worcester Mayor Councillor Mary Drinkwater's chosen charities.