Bear hugs on hand – 30,000 teddies delivered to children at Bedfordshire Hospitals

Date: 19/08/2022 | Category: General News

ED staff with teddy donation

If you go down to A&E today, you could be in for a fluffy surprise…

As all parents know, a visit to A&E can be a scary experience for a child, but Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is set to make hospital journeys a little easier for young patients, thanks to the generous donation of 30,000 extremely cute and cuddly teddy bears from the Freemasons Provincial Grand Lodge of Bedfordshire.

The Bedfordshire Freemasons have been supplying the colourful bears to Bedford Hospital and Luton & Dunstable University Hospital A&E paediatric department since 2004, as part of their national campaign Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) and this month Bedford Hospital celebrated the arrival of the 30,000th bear donated.

ED staff celebrating 30,000 teddy donation

Not only are the bears there to offer comfort, but they are used to demonstrate medical procedures. Doctors and nurses often show children the procedure on the bear, before it is performed on the patient.

Jo Andrews, Paediatric Lead at Bedford Hospital received the cuddly toys from Tony Henderson, Head of Bedfordshire Freemasons and the Beds Masonic Bikers. Jo said:

“The children we see in our department are often very distressed and upset – these teddy bears really help us to calm them down and assess their needs as soon as possible. The bears are hugely popular with the children, and the parents are often surprised that their children get to keep the bears when they leave. It’s such a simple thing, but they really make a difference to the care and experience our young patients and their families receive when they are with us.”

Sarah Amexheta, Head of Charity for Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in raising funds for this thoughtful donation. Children are able to take the cuddly teddies home with them after they leave, a luxury the Trust would not have without the kind donations of the Freemasons. It’s a lovely gesture and one sure to raise a smile for little ones who have visited our hospitals.”

Tony Henderson, the Head of Bedfordshire Freemasons said:

“The Freemasons have been donating teddies to hospitals across the country for 21 years now, with over 3 million delivered nationally. It’s a scheme we are very proud of.”