Teddy bears here, there and everywhere: it’s picnic time

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It may not be quite every bear that ever there was but there will be plenty of teddy bears at a special gathering in Tinwald on Saturday, July 9.
Large bears, small bears, famous bears or just favourite bears will gather at the Catholic Church hall in Thomson Street, Tinwald. They will be celebrating the 20th birthday of the Ashburton Teddy Bear Club.
Teddy bear designer, maker, collector and enthusiast Judy Skevington founded the club. She had joined a doll making club, but didn’t want to make dolls.
‘‘I felt there was a need for a teddy bear club,’’ Mrs Skevington said. ‘‘The fact that we’re still here 20 years later proved that.’’
There were 13 people present at the first meeting, with six apologies. Three of those foundation members still belong to the club.
At one time there were more than 20 members. Now there are just eight, but they still meet monthly at 1.30pm on the second Saturday of the month to swap ideas and patterns and to socialise as they work on various craft projects.
The club also has a well-stocked library.
While styles of teddies have changed over the years, the traditional bears are still popular, Mrs Skevington said.
And she should know. At one time she was making between 120 and 130 bears each year. Now it is more like 40 to 50, as she is now busy quilting as well.
She even has a room just for her collection. Then there are all the bears and other animals peeping out from shelves, nooks and crannies throughout her home.
The club’s celebrations include displays, raffles and a sales table between 1pm and 3pm on July 9 while past and present members will hold a special afternoon tea afterwards.
Members have been asked to make a celebration bear. These will be on display and the public will get to choose their favourite by casting a vote
Club members are also working on projects to enter in the national bear and doll show to be held at St Andrew’s College, Papanui Road, Christchurch on July 16 and 17.
Photo: Judy Skevington has her arms full with teddies.