Devonshire Freemasons have played a major role as comforting teddies for children in hospitals nationally reached the three million mark in September 2021.
The special three millionth bear was presented to Jackie James, Play Specialist at Peterborough City Hospital, in the hospital’s Amazon Children’s Garden, by Dr David Staples a hospital Consultant Physician and CEO of the United Grand Lodge of England, the Freemasons’ group behind the Teddies for Loving Care initiative.
Locally Devonshire Freemasons have given an amazing 64,360 teddies to children at hospitals across Devon since the scheme began nationally in 2001. The bears are given to children in hospitals to comfort them or reward them for their bravery.
Children are often first met by a bear when they arrive at a hospital Emergency Department to provide comfort and reassurance, in what can be a scary and unknown environment. The bears are used to demonstrate procedures, with doctors and nurses often showing children the procedures on the bear, before performing on children.
Quote from a nurse in the North Devon District Hospital:
"I think that I have probably X-rayed more bears than children in demonstrating that X-rays are safe"
similar quotes exist for injections etc. Another comment is that:
"the bear makes the child calm and a calm child equals a calm parent"
Teddie pins were also given to Nurses for their Lanyards, there is a report that a Large Teddie was spotted in Matron’s Office (there is no official NHS comment on this).
Dr David Staples, CEO of the United Grand Lodge of England, said:
“I’m delighted to be able to present the three millionth ‘Teddy for Loving Care’. As a doctor, who regularly works with children in hospitals, I know how important these bears can be, both for the children who receive them and the staff who give them”.
Ian Kingsbury, Leader of Devonshire Freemasons added:
“Our chief ‘Bear organiser’ Keith Bower and his team work tirelessly to make sure that there's teddie available in our hospitals for Children and their Parents often at quite worrying times, we’re very proud of them”
Attached photo at North Devon District Hospital with Keith Bower and Assistant Leader of Devonshire’s Freemasons Charlie Yelland.
Bro Alec Collyer MBE
Provincial Press Officer