In 2014 I was keen to involve my nine year old son Wilbur in the commemorations for the 100th anniversary of WW1, and I decided that a travelling bear could help Wilbur and his friends to understand how the war had affected families across the UK.
Edward George Lefray, Ted for short, soon arrived at our house. Ted was a vintage bear made by Lefray in the 1950s. He liked to see things connected with history, and of course, he was especially interested in seeing memorials, and participating in remembrance events.
I started a website called “Where’s Ted Today?” and a Twitter account by the same name, where I recorded his adventures.
We asked each of Ted’s hosts to send a postcard to Wilbur, as Ted wasn’t very good with pens! Ted’s hosts also sent us lots of photos. He also had plenty of adventures at home with Wilbur and I.
While Ted was away, we felt a bit lonely, so we acquired a slightly younger Lefray bear called Arthur. Nanny Barbara knitted Ted and Arthur a jumper each. Ted’s was a lovely cream one which looked perfect with his red scarf and poppy, and Arthur’s was brown. We even made it into the local paper!
Soon we were joined by more bears, Calley, Molly, and Daisy, all of whom made friends with my childhood bear, Tessy. Calley was a miniature bear who looked rather similar to the famous WW1 pocket bears. We even found a book called “A Bear in War”, featuring a bear who looked exactly like him.
Daisy was the oldest bear in the family. As she was a bit more fragile than her new friends, she preferred to stay at home and read Ted’s postcards.
Thank you to everyone who hosted Ted on his travels! Wilbur is now 18, so all but one of the bears have left home. Ted and Arthur are now looking for their next adventure, whether that’s together or apart, so they have travelled to Loved Before London to find a new home. Daisy has stayed with us.