A campaign to knit teddy bears for children receiving medical treatment, which was started several years ago by a Lutterworth woman, has seen more than 5,500 woolly friends donated.
Elaine Turner, from the Rotary Club of Lutterworth, organised the appeal several years ago after spotting a small article in a magazine appealing for the teddies.
The article said that doctors treating youngsters in the developing world have found that children who have a teddy to cuddle in their cots get better more quickly than those who don’t.
Since the appeal began, the Lutterworth group has collected 5,526 teddies.
After Elaine’s story initially appeared in the Mail several years ago, she received more than 200 responses from people wanting to help and was soon receiving about 10 teddy bears a week.
Peter Osborn, from the Rotary Club of Lutterworth, said: “Recently 40 have been added to a knitters luggage when she visited South Africa and The Harrogate Library Crafty Ladies have had them on display in their local library.”
Anyone who volunteers to knit the teddy bears is sent a pattern and instructions.
After the appeal reached the 5,000 teddy bear mark last year, Elaine said: “The project has brought smiles to over 5,000 children living in difficult situations. I have appreciated all the help and assistance.”
Most of the teddy bears are sent to countries in Africa, although a number have also been sent to the USA and New Zealand.
Some of the teddies have also be used by the police and fire service in the UK where they are given to traumatised children.
For more information and to download the knitting pattern, visit www.lutterworthrotary.org.uk/teddy.