Children say “Thank You” for their TLC Bears

Roy White, Dave Thorogood, Sue Goudy, Frances Welfford, Ann McKinnon and Bob Thornhill in the back row. In the Front row, Sabastian, Annabelle, Emma & Bob. (Sabastian was in the ward visiting his big sister Emma, and was persuaded to join in the group shot!)

Worshipful Brother Roy White, Charity Steward for Rochester Castle Lodge No 9260, organises and delivers Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) Bears to Medway Maritime Hospital, on behalf of East Kent Freemasons.

The TLC Bears is a scheme that’s been running since 2001. It started in Essex and has spread throughout the UK. All money raised goes towards the purchase of TLC Bears so the staff can give one of the cuddly toys to a child when admitted to Accident & Emergency or when a patient on the children’s ward.

Annabelle in her Easter costume with Roy White, Katherine Miles, Ann McKinnon and Bob Thornhill.

Annabelle is an example of a child receiving a TLC Bear. She is a regular visitor to the Medway Maritime Hospital and also The Evelina Children’s Hospital in London. She has a very rare form of Encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and has spent a lot of time in the High Dependency Unit in Medway’s Dolphin Ward. “She was so critically ill at one stage we thought we were going to lose her.” said Annabelle’s Mum, Charmaine. “The wonderful staff on the children’s ward saved her life. We truly can’t fault any of the care she has had and is continuing to receive. Everyone from the Doctors, Nurses, Physiotherapists, Play Workers and TLC Bears were, and still are, so important, and play such a crucial role in not just Annabelle’s, but every child’s recovery.” Annabelle was delighted to be asked to help in the “photo-shoot” and can be seen in her Easter Bunny costume proudly holding two TLC Bears.

One of the Thank-You cards

Katherine Miles, who works in the Children’s A&E ward, said: “Having a separate entrance for children who come to A&E makes such a difference. They come in to a child-friendly environment and once they are given a TLC Bear of their own to cuddle, you can see their anxiety and tension quickly disperse; not only from the child, but the parents too!”

This visit was unusual as Roy and Bob Thornhill, also from Rochester Castle Lodge, were asked to visit the children’s ward at Medway Maritime in order to receive something special from them for a change - thank-you cards from the children for their TLC Bears!

Annabelle with nurses from Dolphin Ward and some TLC Bears

Play Specialist on Dolphin Ward, Ann McKinnon, was asked by the children to help them make the thank-you cards. Ann, a firm favourite with all the children on the ward, then asked Roy and Bob if they would mind popping down for a proper ‘presentation’. “The TLC bears are such a hit with the little ones” said Ann, “They can’t believe that the teddies are theirs to keep, and not just another toy borrowed from the box!” Ann went on to explain that: “We use the bears to befriend the children, to reward them for being brave and in some cases to demonstrate on the bears what they are going to do.”

Katherine holding a supply of TLC Teddies

Ann asked for a copy of the group photo to put on their notice board in the ward “We have so many parents thank us for the bears. I think all of East Kent Freemasons and Roy from Rochester Castle Lodge, in particular, should get recognition for the truly beneficial comfort the TLC Bears bring.”

Roy has been delivering TLC Bears to Medway Maritime Hospital for 12 years and in that time has delivered countless numbers to the ward. “I don’t do it for the recognition” said Roy “in fact I hate having my picture taken! I do it because of the benefit it brings to these small and fragile patients!”

Click here for more information on how you can help this worthy cause.

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