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Upcycled Ashlands teddy bears for Airedale Hospital

Crafty Ilkley parents have been transforming unwanted school uniform into handmade teddy bears for a good cause.

Friends of Ashlands, the PTA of Ashlands Primary School in Ilkley, and The Crafty Green Gang – the associated Ashlands craft club, recently formed an alliance with Airedale NHS Foundation Trust to provide young patients at the hospital with handmade teddy bears, created using upcycled uniform. Around ten parents from the school picked up pre-made kits with the pieces of uniform and other resources and followed instructions to create the bears known as “Ash”.

The craft club also ran a Zoom workshop for those who needed extra support and guidance. This was also a welcome way to connect for parents and a source of much needed distraction.

The idea for the partnership came to Nicola Holmes, Chair of Friends of Ashlands, whose own daughter was taken to Airedale in an ambulance in 2019 and was gifted a crocheted teddy bear by the paramedic. The bear was named “Dale”, after the hospital, and became a source of comfort during the hospital visit. Nicola says “we wanted to give back to the hospitals who are working so hard to care for the community. The bears are a gift for the children who are admitted to Airedale but they are as much from the medical team as they are from Ashlands. We hope they bring as much joy and comfort to others as they did for my daughter”.

Laura Phillips, the founder of The Crafty Green Gang, said “usually at this time of year we hold a Christmas Fair where we sell our creations to raise funds for the school. It’s been wonderful to have an opportunity to gift the bears to children at Airedale and we are sure they will go to a good home”.

Airedale Hospital & Community Charity are the charitable arm of the hospital and work with community groups, fundraisers and donors on their behalf.

Kirsty Randell, Matron for Paediatric Services says “We are delighted to have been able to link up with Ashlands in this amazing work, especially after such a difficult year. These teddies will bring such joy to the poorly children that stay with us. We are looking forward to continuing this work in 2021.”

The partnership will continue into 2021 and the school have said they may look to create some Ashland bunnies ready to be delivered in time for Easter.


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