Retired nurse donates one thousand teddy bears

published on 27 Jan 2022

Teddy bear donation
Lynn and John with Huddersfield Corps Officers Majors Adrian and Chris Lee

A retired nurse has donated a thousand teddy bears to Huddersfield Salvation Army to be given to children in need or those who have suffered trauma.

Lynn Howarth, 66, who started collecting them in the 1990s, and her husband John, 66, dropped off two cars full of cuddly toys, including a giant Winnie the Pooh, to the New Hey Road church.

The toys will be distributed to families in need in the Huddersfield area including children who have been relocated to the town having fled Afghanistan. 

Lynn, who has four grandchildren and five great grandchildren, said: “When I got divorced many years ago, my daughter bought me a teddy bear to keep me company and it started from there. I’d buy them on holidays or if I went to the National Trust. My family and friends would buy them for birthdays and Christmas presents.

Teddy bear donation
Lynn with some of her donations

“My husband kitted out the attic with shelves and they lived up there, but then I read an article appealing for teddies for children who had lost everything in a fire, or had suffered trauma so I decided to donate them. They were doing nothing up there in the attic and a lot of them are brand new.

“There’s such a variety including a giant Winnie the Pooh.

“When I was a hospital nurse, teddies would offer comfort to children who were unwell. If they had a special teddy it helped them feel less frightened. I feel good knowing that my collection is going to help children in need.”

The toys, donated in November, will be stored for a period of isolation before being distributed.

Teddy bear donation
Some of the teddies Lynn donated

Corps officer Major Chris Lee, who leads the Huddersfield church with her husband Adrian, said: “We want to thank Lynn for her kind donation to The Salvation Army.

“We are planning to host a drop-in for Afghan refugees, so a lot of these toys will be distributed to children who have fled there and are experiencing trauma.

“We also know of many families who are struggling financially and may not be able to afford toys for their children’s birthdays.

“We know Lynn’s donation will help bring some comfort to children who are going through a tough time, or make life a little easier for struggling families.”

Throughout the year, Huddersfield Salvation Army hosts community groups including Dementia Choir, parent and toddler groups and a men’s firepit talking group. It is in the process of expanding its programme to offer a drop-in service for refugees.

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Officer providing support and advice

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