Cambridgeshire Freemasons play major role as comforting teddies for children in hospital reaches three million mark

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The three millionth teddy to be given to poorly children across England and Wales has been presented, with Cambridgeshire Freemasons playing a big part.

The special 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.

The scheme was originally launched in Essex in 2001 and Freemasons of Cambridgeshire province, which does not include Peterborough, opened their efforts at Addenbrookes and Ely Hospital in January 2003. The North Cambs and the County Hospital at Wisbech and Doddington were also included and 30,000 children have received teddies at the four hospitals since then. The bears are given to comfort children in hospital who are being very brave or need to be persuaded to be very brave.

Children are usually met by a bear when they arrive at a Hospital Emergency Department to provide comfort and reassurance in what can be a scary unknown environment. The bears are sometimes used to demonstrate procedures, when a Doctor or Nurse will demonstrate the procedure on the bear before performing it on the child.

Speaking as she received the three millionth bear, Jackie James said: “The Teddies for Loving Care bears are very special to us in the Emergency Department and have a wonderful, positive impact on children who are receiving care. When a child first arrives at hospital not only are they feeling unwell but they may also be feeling scared and anxious. The little TLC teddies provide some comfort and really help make them feel at ease.”

Dr David Staples, CEO of the United Grand Lodge of England and a Cambridgeshire Freemason 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.”

ENDS

Notes for editors:

The attached photograph, taken at the Peterborough City Hospital in the Amazon Children’s Garden, Mark Constance, TLC lead Northants & Hunts, Arthur Briggs, TLC Rep for Peterborough Hospital, Dr David Staples, Jackie James, Play Specialist, Peterborough City Hospital and Emily Grant and son Edward.

About Teddies for Loving Care:
The Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) initiative provides unique cuddly bears to Accident & Emergency departments for medical staff to give at their discretion to young children. The bears are used to calm children down, reward them for being brave or to demonstrate procedures. Often the bears distract children so nurses and doctors can get their jobs done quickly and efficiently. The TLC teddy has become an invaluable tool for medical professionals and a real comfort for children. The work of TLC is funded through the generous donations of Freemasons, their families and supporters of the programme. Many Freemasons also volunteer hundreds of hours each year to manage the scheme, deliver bears to hospitals, campaign to raise funds and increase awareness through events and talks. There are 47 regional TLC programmes across England and Wales that provide teddies for their local A&E departments. Once a hospital joins the scheme they can replenish teddies on request through their local TLC representative. Some TLC programmes also donate a portion of their TLC funds towards teddies for minor injuries units, children’s wards and hospices; there are even teddies flying on air ambulances!

About Cambridgeshire Freemasonry:
The Masonic Province of Cambridgeshire is relatively small, with Masonic Centres in Cambridge, Ely, Newmarket, March, Chatteris, Whittlesey and Wisbech. There are around 1500 Freemasons and 30 individual lodges. We pride ourselves on our friendliness and inclusivity, with members drawn from all walks of life and professional backgrounds. We welcome enquiries from anyone who is curious about our values and our history.
More information is available on our website and enquiries should be directed to our Provincial Office in Cambridge via https://www.cambridgeshirefreemasons.org.uk/  or to our Provincial Information Officer:
Jon Cooper
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07714 763427