Teddy bears help to brighten hospital visits for children at Musgrove Park


Teddy bears help to brighten hospital visits for children at Musgrove Park

Over the space of 17 years, nearly 10,000 cuddly teddy bears have been given to some of our youngest patients at Musgrove Park Hospital, thanks to the efforts of local Freemason, Adrian Halliwell.

The Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) Appeal is a national initiative run by the Freemasons, which aims to give a teddy to any child coming into hospital who may be feeling upset, worried, or scared. Having a teddy to hold can help to reduce the shock and distress, and brighten their experience – and every child that receives a teddy gets to take it home to keep.

Adrian started fundraising locally and supplied the first teddy to our emergency department (ED) in 2006.

While the initiative first started in ED, the teddies have travelled across the hospital over the years, appearing on the children’s ward, in the plaster room, the outpatients department, and sometimes even going through the CT scanners with the children!

A few weeks ago, the teddies made a debut appearance in our Day Surgery Centre, after paediatric pre-assessment nurse on the unit, Louise Mould, reached out to Adrian. She said: “We get many children through pre-assessment who are anxious about their surgery or procedure, who would really benefit from having something to cuddle or hold on to.

“I’d heard about the teddy bears in ED and reached out to Adrian to see whether we could have some for the children coming through the Day Surgery Centre – and I was delighted when he agreed!

“The teddies have such a calming effect on the children, which can make it much easier to get them ready for their procedure. Even the older children, who appear OK on the outside, save a smile for when they’re handed a teddy. It can make a very distressing day that little bit brighter for the children coming into our care.”

Patient Brooke was in Day Surgery waiting for a procedure on the day that Adrian came to deliver the teddies, and was the first child to receive one on the unit.

“It was lovely to meet Brooke and her mum, Amy, and to see the first Day Surgery teddy bear find its new home,” said Adrian. “Over all the years I’ve been delivering teddies to Musgrove Park, I’ve received several comments from children and their parents about the difference the teddies have made, and it’s great that we’re able to provide teddies to departments across the hospital now.

“The work of TLC is funded through the generous donations of Freemasons, their families, and supporters of the programme, and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who has supported the appeal during its time. Back in 2015, we delivered the 5000th teddy bear to Musgrove Park, and the Provincial Grand Master attended the presentation, along with ‘Big Ted’ – he may even make a cameo appearance when we reach our 10,000th teddy!”

The TLC Appeal has supplied over 3.5 million teddies to children across the UK since it started in 2001.