It was a wonderful start to the Maritime holiday season, as the 49th Annual Christmas Daddies Telethon brought in $450,000 in donations.

The much-loved tradition ensures more than 17,000 children around the region will have a special Christmas.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the generosity our viewers have shown for their neighbours across the region, even in challenging economic times” said Steve Murphy, host of the telethon. “We are truly overwhelmed, although not surprised, by this outpouring of support.”

Of the $450,000 raised, $279,300 came from mainland Nova Scotia, while New Brunswick raised $57,000. Prince Edward Island brought in close to $14,000, Cape Breton raised $80,700, and $19,000 in donations came from viewers across the country.

Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) – the Navy Divers – raised an incredible $15,600. Staff and patrons of Big Leagues Dining Room and Lounge once again showed tremendous support by raising over $30,000 at their annual auction, which they used to purchase the coveted Navy Divers helmet yesterday. Another big cheque came from PharmaChoice, who donated $25,770 from its annual golf tournament.

The show was pleased to welcome Beverly Thomson from CTV's Canada AM, whose joyful personality and genuine warmth was a delight to our viewers, guests and volunteers.

“I am very grateful for our volunteers,” says Roxanne Robinson, executive director of Christmas Daddies. “I am very proud of each and every one of them and their continued dedication to the vision created by co-founders Jim Hill and Jack Dalton in 1964 “

This year’s show was dedicated to Bucky Adams and to David and Donna McKeough. Bucky, who passed away in July, performed on the Halifax show for many years. Donna was the Cape Breton show co-ordinator for a year and her husband Dave was a dedicated band member. The couple was killed in a car accident last June.

The Salvation Army distributes funds raised by the telethon and as always, funds stay in the area from which they came. The success of this year’s telethon will provide toys, gifts and necessities such as clothing and food to over 17,000 children across the region.

Organizers expect to top up the Daddies total as donations continue to come in, and from the sale of 2013 Christmas Daddies calendars, which are available at Wheaton’s stores across the Maritimes and on the Daddies website.

Pledges can be honoured at any branch of the Royal Bank in Atlantic Canada, at Credit Unions on Cape Breton island or online.