Welcome bears await refugees

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Handmade teddy bears with unique features and personalities are ready and waiting for their forever homes.

The bears are the work of members of the AshBearton Teddy Bear Club for refugee families moving to the district.

Although the refugees’ arrival has been delayed due to Covid-19, teddy bear club members have made small pram bears and large floppy bears, which are ready and waiting whenever it may be.

Club president Donece McEwen said the bears were a project started earlier this year as a way to welcome the refugees to Mid Canterbury.

For many club members, bear-making efforts were ramped up during lockdown. They have been made of candlewick material, poodle cloth and acrylics.

have their own personalities.

Each bear involves cutting and hand stitching and can take up to four or five hours to complete; longer for larger bears, although Mrs McEwen said they were often made in batches.

Club secretary/treasurer Judy Skevington, a founding member, said the club had been around for 24 years. They meet one Saturday a month at the Holy Spirit Church Hall in Tinwald.

They have 16 members; the youngest is just 14 years old, but are always keen for more.

You don’t have to make teddy bears to be in the club, you can be taught, but you do have to like them, Mrs Skevington said.

-By Toni Williams