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Milestone figure reached as 15,000th teddy is delivered

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A hospital visit can be a frightening experience for a young child, especially in an emergency situation. Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) is a way of providing much-needed comfort to children in A&E and Minor Injury and Illness Units (MIIUs) helping to reduce the shock and distress of their experience.  

Teddies for Loving Care is a national charity that donates small teddy bears to children who attend a hospital or injury unit and is locally funded by the Gloucestershire Freemasons. 

The Provincial Grand Almoner, Dr Jonathan Steel undertook a two-day cycle ride to MIIUs across Gloucestershire to celebrate the 15,000th bear donated by the Province of Gloucestershire to hospitals in the county. 

Starting at the Yate Minor Injury Unit Jonathan visited Vale Community Hospital Dursley, Stroud General Hospital MIIU, Tetbury Hospital MIU, Cirencester Hospital MIIU, North Cotswolds Hospital Moreton-in-Marsh, Tewkesbury Community Hospital MIIU and ended his epic ride at the Lydney and District Hospital MIIU. 

Dursley 2 | Milestone figure reached as 15,000th teddy is delivered
Dr Jonathan Steel at the Vale Hospital in Dursley.

At the end of his journey a weary Jonathan presented the 15000th TLC teddy to a delighted Archie.  

Dr Jonathan Steel, Almoner for Gloucestershire’s 2,600 Freemasons, said: “15,000 is not just a number. It’s fifteen thousand scared and anxious children in Gloucestershire having been comforted.” 

Tim Henderson-Ross, Head of Gloucestershire’s 2,600 Freemasons, told us: “Gloucestershire Freemasons gave over £240,000 from their own pockets last year, much of it going to children’s charities in the county. ‘Teddies for Loving Care’ is especially close to our hearts. One of the strongest instincts is to support our children when they are in difficulty and that is exactly what TLC does. We are grateful to the Minor Injury and Illness Units for enabling this to happen and of course for the great work they do for the children in our county.” 

DSC08357 | Milestone figure reached as 15,000th teddy is delivered
Tim Henderson-Ross, Provincial Grand Master of Gloucestershire Freemasons with a TLC Teddy – they are distributed in hospitals to comfort children. Picture: Matt Bigwood

Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust Matron MIIU Countywide, Lee Iddles says: “We are hugely grateful to the Gloucestershire Lodges for helping us to provide comfort and reassurance at what can be a scary time. Thanks to the donations, we can give bears to children when they arrive at our Minor Injury and Illness Units (MIIUs) and they really help us to calm young patients down. With our younger patients, we can use the teddies to assess their needs or to reassure them about their treatment and this really makes a difference to their experience.” 

Lizzy Hooper, Sirona Care & Health’s Same Day Urgent Care Manager for South Gloucestershire told us when Jonathan dropped into Yate MIU:  

“We gratefully received armfuls of ‘bravery bears’ to give to children who are anxious or in pain when they first arrive at the MIU in South Gloucestershire. Youngsters who receive them are always thrilled to be leaving with their new friend in tow – often seen with a bandage or plaster to match the child’s own. The bears help to make a visit to the MIU a better experience for children. We’d like to thank Freemasonry Gloucestershire for all their hard work and support; it’s hugely appreciated by us and the children who receive the bears.” 

Laura Williams, Chief Executive at Tetbury Hospital Trust says “Thank you to Gloucestershire Freemasons who have provided our MIIU at Tetbury Hospital Trust with Teddies for Loving Care.  This makes a huge difference to our smaller visitors, who might be feeling apprehensive, by giving them comfort which can distract them from feeling poorly.  Supporting children to have a positive experience in healthcare settings makes a world of difference when they need us again us again in the future.  This initiative does just that!”  

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