Later this year an initiative run by Freemasons throughout the UK will reach a significant milestone when the Teddies for Loving Care initiative will give its three millionth teddy bear to a child going into hospital.
The latest way Lincolnshire Freemasons have helped the Freemasons Charity the MCF to reach this milestone is with a £200 donation to the scheme made possible because of the Gerald Sclater cartoon competition we’ve been running on our web site. The video at this link shows Nick Brown handing the money to Provincial representative Nev Storey.
The benefit of a simple teddy bear given to each of those three million children in a hospital emergency is described by Lincoln Freemason Nick Brown, who has first-hand experience of it. He writes: “Teddies for Loving Care is a charity with one thing in mind – to bring a smile to a child’s face in what must be one of their most unsettling moments – arriving at hospital. My own daughter was three years old when she was suffering from pneumonia and had to be admitted to hospital, where she was greeted with a smiling nurse who immediately won her confidence and trust by giving her a Teddy Bear.
“I had not heard much about Teddies for Loving Care at that point, despite being a member of the Craft for a few years and was delighted to see it had been donated by local Freemasons.
“In the current crisis, a smile has helped many people including brethren who may be missing lodge, but as we stay at home dedicated teams in the NHS are sustaining their heroic efforts to keep the service going and this includes children that still need to go into hospital and need that encouragement. In order to raise a smile, and some much-needed funds, amongst the brethren of Lincolnshire in particular, the Provincial Mentoring team devised a plan to run a caption competition with the opportunity to win cartoons about Freemasonry created by cartoonist Gerald Sclater.
“It was a way to keep the brethren occupied! Creating artwork can be a tough ask, which is why we have come up with this competition. No doubt we have all seen cartoons with a Freemasonry twist created by Gerald Sclater. We contacted him and he very kindly gave us permission to take the text out of some of cartoons and invite the brethren to add their own. Gerald also donated artwork as prizes, and asked only that we donate to Teddies for Loving Care. All his artwork is sold to generate income for TLC. We are delighted to announce that we have so far raised £200.
“Nev Storey, the chairman of the Teddies for Loving Care charity in the Province of Lincolnshire, accepted the cheque at a ‘virtual handover’ and thanked the brethren for the funds, as you’ll see in the videos.
“The Province of Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, after helping Lincolnshire with another Provincial project, have taken up the challenge and will be replicating the competition, with the result that a further £200 to Teddies for Loving Care has already been pledged.
“My daughter is now a smiling and healthy teenager, but she still has that Teddy Bear, which she decided to call Mason.”
The Teddies for Loving Care initiative is operated by the Freemasons Charity the MCF throughout the country and 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!