Michelle Bassett and Susan McDonald-Golds pictured with just some of the teddy bears donated so far

Council gets behind teddy bear plea

by Mike Isle

A plea for teddy bears to be knitted for children in hospital, first reported in The Record, has been an outstanding success.

Michelle Bassett who along with colleague Susan McDonnell-Golds at Harman Lawyers instigated the requests said knitted teddy bears were flowing in and knitters as far away as the West Coast and Invercargill were now involved.

She said the Selwyn District Council had weighed-in offering its libraries as drop-off points for the homemade teddies, and the Rolleston Library was organising a display of donated teddies.

The library’s community learning librarian Matt Logan said: “Libraries are a space that brings the community together and we always like to help with positive community projects if we are able, so this project made sense as something we could help with.”

Mason Drapery in Darfield has become a drop-off point with its owner, Rosalie also accepting donations of wool or stuffing from non-knitters.

Michelle Bassett said she is “overwhelmed” by the response since The Record published an article on her initiative earlier this month.

She said a rest home in Invercargill had heard of the story and many of the residents were now busy making teddy bears. A mention on a Greymouth Facebook page had inspired another group of knitters. Michelle and Susan came up with the idea of going public with the plea after they heard the hospital used knitted teddy bears as a gift for children in the hospital and for new babies to take home.

Hospital Chaplin Mary Minson said that Canterbury hospitals giving away 30 teddy bears or more a week and most of those were coming from church groups, but such was the popularity of them that the hospital was struggling to meet the numbers required.

“It is just wonderful to see the children’s faces when they are given one of the bears. It is just a moment of joy for them, and we are immensely grateful to everybody that takes the time to make and donate the bears,” she said.

Teddy bears can be dropped off at any Selwyn District Council library. Masons Drapery in Darfield or Harmans Lawyers 485 Papanui Road Christchurch.