(By David Allison, Sunderland Echo, 18 July 2018)
A scheme which hands out teddy bears to poorly youngsters at Sunderland Royal Hospital has helped its 12,000th patient.
The Durham Freemasons programme helps to alleviate distress to young patients at the Royal’s children’s Emergency Department. Assistant Provincial Grand Master for the Province of Durham, Craig Steel, was able to hand over the 12,000th TLC Teddy.
TLC Teddies are small bears that are distributed to Emergency Departments to distract children who need urgent and emergency treatment and give them a friend to hug. They are handed out by hospital staff to help children cope with the distress of receiving treatment and to keep them company if they have to go for an X-ray or to the fracture clinic.
City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust was one of the first paediatric emergency departments in the region to take the bears. Fundraising for the project has been undertaken by the Freemasons of Durham, who have raised around £25,000 to provide the teddies.
The TLC project was launched in Durham in 2005 and to date, the Freemasons have provided over 83,000 bears to local hospitals, children’s hospices and respite centres…