All the fun of the bear | Action Medical Research

Touching Lives - February 2008

All the fun of the bear

Paddington will be a very busy bear indeed in 2008, as he celebrates the 50th anniversary of the launch of ‘A Bear called Paddington’, written by Michael Bond and published in October 1958. But one of the most important events in his calendar will be this year’s Bring Your Bear bonanza in June. Everyone at Action Medical Research is really looking forward to marking half a century of Paddington in fabulous style and we want to raise as much money as possible in this special year. Our furry figurehead continues to be one of our most popular, hardworking and loyal supporters, so we hope that more schools and nurseries than ever before will join us for an extra special Bring Your Bear fundraiser, with events being run across the UK throughout the month of June (Paddington’s birthday month).

We are very proud to have such a special relationship with one of the UK’s most lovable literary characters. Paddington’s involvement with the Charity goes all the way back to 1976 and he has given his unique support in many ways over the last 30 years, helping to raise millions to help fund vital medical research. In fact, it’s because he is so important to us that we gave him his own fundraising event. Launched in the summer of 1996, Bring Your Bear has grown into a fantastic annual fundraiser for the Charity.To date it has raised well over £500,000. More recently, it has raised money to support our Touching Tiny Lives Campaign to help sick and vulnerable babies, and has also helped to further educate both children and adults on some of the issues surrounding pregnancy complications and premature birth.

Join in
It’s very easy to take part in Bring Your Bear 2008. Many schools and nurseries chose to hold their events around Paddington’s birthday on June 25, but they really can choose any other day that’s convenient for them (and it doesn’t necessarily have to be June).We hope that parents and grandparents will encourage their local schools to take part and that teachers all over the UK will want to get involved in running events with their pupils. In 2007 Bring Your Bear raised more than £86,000.This year we’re setting our sights even higher and if we hit our target we could potentially fund an entire three-year Touching Tiny Lives project with the money raised.This would be a fantastic achievement that would help give more babies a better start in life. Bring Your Bear is aimed at primary schools and nurseries, although any organisation or age group is more than welcome to take part. Paddington is popular among adults as well as children, and this year we are very lucky to have Barclay’s branches in the South East also taking part, proving that bank managers do have a cuddlier side! The Bring Your Bear idea is a very simple one. Each child, or adult, makes a donation, usually £1, and in return they can bring their teddy bear or favourite soft toy into class or work for the day. Many schools and nurseries chose to create a whole day of fundraising activity around Bring Your Bear, and every year we receive fantastic feedback about their exploits. Schools will find plenty of ideas to get them started in their free fundraising pack, which also includes useful educational materials such as activity sheets and Paddington Bear stickers.

Paddington’s Suitcase Challenge
This year sees the addition of a fun new twist for schools to get involved in, called Paddington’s Suitcase Challenge. It adds an element of skill and a bit of healthy competition.We will be asking youngsters to use their creative skills and decorate a large matchbox in the style of Paddington’s iconic suitcase. They will then need to try to fit as many different items as possible into their miniature cases, with friends and family sponsoring them for every item they successfully manage to squeeze in. A special mention has to go to Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, in Elstree, Hertfordshire, which pioneered the sponsored matchbox challenge concept last year.This school came top of the class in 2007’s Bring Your Bear, raising more than £5,000 — an absolutely fantastic result. We hope schools across the UK will rise to Paddington’s challenge and help us to raise even more money to help sick and vulnerable babies.

Special achievers
Every year we offer some special rewards to thank schools for taking part. *Every school that takes part will get a personalised certificate to hang with pride on the wall *If you agree to raise £150 or more then we’ll send you a Paddington Bear soft toy *If you raise £250 or more we’ll also send you a commemorative plaque to mark this special achievement. *Paddington will take time out of his very busy schedule to visit the ten schools that raise the most money. *And this year, Paddington will be presenting the top ten schools with a special library set of his famous books, which will include an exclusive signed edition of the brand new title, ‘Here and Now’, to be published in June. This year’s Bring Your Bear is being supported by various partners, and we’d like to say a big thank you to Harper Collins, Abbey Home Media and Rainbow Designs for their contributions.

Paddington goes back to school
One of our most loyal Bring Your Bear schools has been Wickford C of E Infants in Essex. Children at the school have taken part every year since 2002, raising almost £1,200 to date. As well as being very loyal supporters, the teachers and pupils at the school have also shown great creativity. Last year’s Bring Your Bear event saw the introduction of the amazing ‘Tedapult’! Paddington recently paid the children a special visit and we want to say a big thank you to everyone at the school for their continuing support and for allowing us to use their pictures in this magazine.

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