Cuddly crews are teddy to help

It is ready, teddy go for Cleveland Fire Brigade’s latest recruits as they line-up to help children affected by fire or road accidents.

The Trauma Teddies, pioneered by WVI TEDDIE BEARSWVI TEDDIE BEARSthe Australian Red Cross in the 1990’s, have been knitted by ladies at the Linthorpe Women’s Institute and handed over to crews at Middlesbrough Fire Station.

WI member Val Cunningham said: “We heard about these being used by other fire services in the country and decided we would like to do something to help. They are great fun to make, come complete with their own little bags and we hope they make a difference to any young person traumatised by fire or other incidents.

 “We have handed over 14 so far but our members are very enthusiastic and there could be even more on the way soon.

 Trauma Teddies are known to be a source of great comfort when they are given to a child affected by fire or a road accident.

Dave Turton, Head of Community Safety, Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We are hugely indebted to the hard work of all those involved at Linthorpe WI. It is a wonderful gesture.

“When we attend emergency incidents, we see children who are upset and who cannot understand what is happening and why we are there.

“We understand how upsetting and scary these experiences can be and Trauma Teddies can help give comfort to those affected. The bear is kept by the child and becomes a new cuddly friend.”

The Trauma Teddy was born in 1990 in Australia when the ambulance service noted the calming affect a bear had on a child who was being treated. The Red Cross stepped in and launched the new scheme.

They are now used by emergency services across the UK.

PIC Caption

Linthorpe WI members (l to r) Gill Hodgson, Rita Brown, Alison Brownlee-Parker and Val Cunningham hand over the Trauma Teddies to Firefighter  Stuart Knox , Watch Manager Paul Thompson  and Firefighters  Dave Elliot and  Andy Smith from Middlesbrough station.