The Lodge of Industry No 48

TLC Teddies

What are TLC Teddies?

TLC Teddies are a small Teddy Bear bearing a label simply stating ‘Donated by local Freemasons’ these are distributed to the Accident and Emergency Units and Child hospice and Respite Care Centres of Durham and are given at the medical staff’s discretion to young patients to help alleviate distress. The Teddy helps to distract the child while giving them a friend and someone to hug, while allowing the medical staff to get on with their urgent work.

The beauty of this appeal is in its simplicity. The fund collects donations from both Lodges and individuals and turns the money into Teddies, these Teddies are then distributed amongst the 6 Accident and Emergency units within the Province. The success of the project relies on annual donations of £50 from each Lodge in the Province. Cheques for TLC donations should be payable to “Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham” and sent to Provincial Office at 8 The Esplanade, Sunderland, SR2 7BH with a covering note.

To date we as a Province have donated over 80,000 Teddies to the A&E Departments within the Province of Durham with very positive feedback from the staff and parents of child patients, who have expressed their appreciation.

The appeal benefits the community through the A&E departments that serve them. The use of the teddies has been proved to have beneficial effects for children admitted to A&E units by relieving their distress and alleviating the fear of being treated by complete strangers. They also act as a tool to help staff befriend the child as well as a reward for being brave. It has also been found that the medical staff can perform tasks i.e. injections on the Teddy first making the child far less scared and more willing to go next when Teddy does not cry.

How did it all begin?

Some eighteen years ago an allergic reaction suddenly caused the swelling and blocking of the windpipe of the wife of an Essex Freemason.

Her life was saved by the rapid action of the medical staff at an A&E unit, who were able to resuscitate and stabilise her. She and her husband are both eternally grateful for the swift and caring attention that she received but found the experience to be the most frightening of their lives. Consequently, they speculated on the distress that children must face when visiting A&E units and asked members of his Lodge and other local Freemasons to help to do something useful as a thank you to the A&E unit and its staff.

From that incident the idea of “Teddies for Loving Care” was born. Twelve years later, the TLC scheme is well established nationally and more than 1,000,000 teddies have been used to comfort distressed children in the nation’s hospitals.

The appeal is a Masonic initiative and therefore no reward is sought, however the simple nature of the appeal has benefited Freemasonry by raising our profile in a positive way.