When it came to filling Comic Relief's coffers this month, Royal & Sunalliance must have had some of the City's most imaginative ploys for raising cash.

National claims manager John McLennan was held hostage on a visit to the company's Oldham office, and his staff at Horsham were forced to pay up £700. Men dressed up as women to sell cakes, several employees shaved their heads and managers removed their underwear for a “guess whose pants” competition.

One employee got lucky by winning a “free day off work” raffle and others had to pay before being allowed home for the weekend.