A teddy on the stern of 'steamer' MV tern

Teddy takes cruise on Windermere to highlight children’s charity

Published: 5th July 2022
Categories: Media Release

VIPs are a regular sight on Windermere Lake Cruises vessels – but the company has now welcomed its very first “VIT” passenger – A Very Important Teddy!

The cute cuddly toy took a cruise across Windermere to highlight the work of the charity Teddies for Loving Care (TLC).

Bill Bewley, head of Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons, and Chairman of Windermere Lake Cruises with one of the teddies

The Teddies for Loving Care initiative provides unique cuddly bears to hospitals for medical staff to give to young children to help calm them down, reward them for being brave or to demonstrate procedures.

The initiative is one of several supported by Cumbria Freemasons. Teddy’s cruise took place during the official launch of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) 2027 Festival - a five-year appeal by the Freemasons to raise funds for charity.

Bill Bewley, head of Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons, and Chairman of Windermere Lake Cruises, marked the launch by handing over a £250,000 donation from Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons to the MCF. And he praised the TLC initiative: “We were very happy to host the launch and to welcome a very important Teddy on board. Teddies for Loving Care is a fabulous initiative and brings so much comfort to so many children when they really need it.”

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.

Neil Dixon from Cumbria Freemasons says: “With TLC being such a wonderful charity, we are trying to raise its profile by having one of the new teddies travel around Cumbria. What better place to begin than with a cruise on Windermere?

“We recently donated 70 teddies to the ICU unit at Carlisle Hospital. As well as helping medical staff to treat children some of the teddies are added to bereavement boxes. These are put together by the nurses to provide some comfort for those who have sadly lost family members.”

A child holds a teddy - photo credit - teddiesforlovingcare.org.uk

There are 47 regional TLC programmes across England and Wales providing 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 funds towards teddies for minor injuries units, children’s wards and hospices; there are even teddies flying on air ambulances!

You can find out more about the TLC initiative HERE

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